Measurements of immune function, which consisted of blood, urine and saliva samples, also indicated that natural killer (white) cells -- those cells that fight viruses and tumors -- also increased, which implies an improved immune system, said one of the lead researchers, Maria Hernandez-Reif, Ph.D., director of research at the Touch Research Institute.
The massage routine focused on promoting relaxation, Hernandez-Reif said, and included strokes of effleurage and petrissage, as well as range-of-motion techniques.
The average age of the 20 women (10 in the massage group and 10 in the nonmassaged control group) is 52. Seventy percent had a breast removed and the remainder had a lumpectomy.
One group had 45-minute massages three times a week over a five-week period. The control group did not receive massage. Eighty percent of those receiving massage had better immune function, while only 30 percent of those in the nonmassaged group showed improved immune function, according to Hernandez-Reif.
Those who received massage were half as anxious after massage, while those in the control group remained anxious, Hernandez-Reif said. Women who were massaged had progressive drops in their reports of depression, she noted, while those who did not receive massage reported no change in their depression over the same time period.
Article copyright Massage Magazine, Inc.~~~~~~~By Melissa B. Mower