A new study on massage done at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles has added to the growing body of evidence that massage is very good for us. Volunteers received either light massage or Swedish deep tissue massage. An intravenous catheter took blood samples before the massage, and for up to an hour after the massage. When blood tests were done, it was found that the Swedish massage caused drops in cortisol, a stress hormone, and significant drops in arginine-vasopressin, a hormone that can increase cortisol. Additionally, there was an increase in white blood cells. The light massage also had significant effects: an increase in oxytocin (the “bonding hormone”) and a decrease in adrenal corticotropin, a hormone that stimulates release of cortisol.
Bottom line: Any loving touch is good for your bride and for your marriage, and massage is particularly good at causing sense of closeness and reducing stress. You will also benefit from being massaged by your bride – especially when you are under stress.
Regimens: Massage Benefits Are More Than Skin Deep – NYT, free registration required
A Preliminary Study of the Effects of a Single Session of Swedish Massage on Hypothalamic–Pituitary–Adrenal and Immune Function in Normal Individuals – Abstract of original journal report