Research has shown that depression can lead to reduced immune functioning. A recent article in Massage Magazine describes how depressed people are more prone to premature ageing of immune cells, “which could in turn open the door to serious illness, such as diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, stroke and dementia.”
A challenged immune system does not only increase the risk of serious illness, but also of all our daily life nuisances such as colds, tiredness, flu, infections and what not. When we are feeling blue we are more likely to become sick.
Last week I shared how massage can help ease the symptoms of depression, and thereby help strengthen the immune system. A lot more studies is needed, but I think that the research done so far gives birth to some interesting thoughts and possibilities.
Massage helps boost the mood. I know from personal observation of my clients that they feel better and happier afterwards. Not only has their physical problems eased, but emotionally and mentally they feel balanced, more “zen”, stronger, confident and with energy to face the challenges of the world.
Our mood influences our immune system to some degree, even if we’re not clinically depressed. Mind influences our body, perhaps much more than we expect. The placebo effect is real. Thinking something will help certainly does help. I have read of studies where people feel better even when they know they’re taking a placebo pill.
How it is all connected I do not know, and I predict it will be quite some years before scientists have fully understood how our mind affects our body. Something is certainly going on, and we cannot just look at one part of ourselves when we seek explanations and treatments for what ails us.
Anyway, back to massage and health. Touch is a very powerful tool. Not only does it affect our body and physical being by releasing various hormones into our system. It also helps our mood and how we view the world around us. All these things combined helps boost the immune system and thereby influences our health.
To me it is clear. It’s important that we take time to take care of ourselves, both emotionally and physically. A massage can be one very pleasant way to do this. There are many other ways to nourish yourself physically and emotionally and it is all about finding that combination of things which suits you and your lifestyle.