Here are some specific data points related to what happens to the body when you receive a massage:
Reduced cortisol levels: Cortisol is a hormone that is associated with stress. Several studies have found that massage can help to reduce cortisol levels in the body. For example, one study found that a 15-minute chair massage reduced cortisol levels by an average of 31%.
Increased circulation: Massage has been found to increase blood and lymphatic flow throughout the body. A study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience found that a 30-minute massage increased blood flow in the massaged area by 10.3% and increased lymphatic flow by 21.8%.
Reduced muscle tension: Massage has been found to reduce muscle tension and improve muscle flexibility. A study published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies found that a 30-minute massage resulted in a significant reduction in muscle tension and an improvement in muscle flexibility.
Improved immune function: Several studies have found that massage can help to boost immune function. For example, a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that a 45-minute Swedish massage increased the number of lymphocytes in the body, which are a type of white blood cell that helps to fight infection.
Reduced anxiety and depression: Massage has been found to have a positive effect on mood, reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. A meta-analysis of 17 studies found that massage therapy was associated with a significant reduction in symptoms of depression.
Reduced pain: Massage has been found to be effective in reducing both acute and chronic pain. For example, a review of 60 studies found that massage therapy was effective in reducing pain associated with a variety of conditions, including fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, and chronic low back pain.
Overall, there is a growing body of research that suggests that massage can have a range of positive effects on the body, including reducing stress and muscle tension, boosting immune function, and improving mood and sleep.