A recent study shows that massage isn't a frivolous indulgence, but a potential medical necessity, the New York Times reports.
Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles recruited a group of 53 healthy adults to get massages. Some got a Swedish massage and the rest got a light massage. All of the adults had their blood tested before and just after their massage. The results?
The Swedish massage group experienced significantly lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, and an increase in their immune systems' disease-fighting white blood cells. The light massage group also experienced increases in oxytocin, the contentment hormone, and decreases in the hormone that triggers the release of cortisol.
If a massage seems like an expensive way to fight off stress and disease, consider looking up massage colleges in your area, where hour-long massages by masseurs-in-training often cost $25-$30--half the cost of a massage at a spa.
Photo courtesy of thomaswanhoff on Flickr.