A study conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and published in The New York Times, found that volunteers who received a 45-minute Swedish massage experienced significant decreases in levels of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as arginine vasopressin-a hormone that can lead to increases in cortisol. Volunteers also had increases in the number of lymphocytes, white blood cells that are part of the immune system, and a boost in the immune cells that may help fight colds and the flu.
Swedish massage also promotes healthy sleep, which is one more way it helps the body heal itself. Whether insomnia or poor sleep is related to depression, anxiety, the onset of aging, or illness, Swedish massage can promote better sleep. This in turn can support the healthy function of the immune system, relieve anxiety and depression, and support energy levels.