What the Research Says
In a controlled study composed of HIV-positive adolescents, participants who received massage therapy showed enhanced immune function by the end of the 12-week study. The immune changes included increased white blood cells known as natural killer (NK) cells, which provide rapid responses to viral-infected cells.
Benefits from massage therapy enhances dopamine and serotonin levels while also increasing NK cell number and lymphocytes. Immediate massage benefits included reduced anxiety while the long-term impact increased serotonin values, natural killer cell numbers and lymphocytes, which work to strengthen the immune system and cognitive function during sickness.