Ah . . . There’s the Rub

Massage has health benefits

By Mary Loftus

a woman getting a massage

iStockphoto.com

You just knew something that feels so good had to be good for you—and now there’s proof. Repeated massage therapy has sustained, cumulative benefits that last for several days to a week, a new study has found. Researchers led by Mark Hyman Rapaport, chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, examined the biological effects of repeated Swedish massage therapy versus light touch intervention. (The control group received only a light touch with the back of the hand.)

A previous study by Rapaport showed that even a single session of Swedish massage had a measurable biological effect, increasing oxytocin levels and stimulating immune function.

“Now we know that the frequency of, or the interval between, massages has different biological and psychological effects than a single session,” he says.

Results were reported online in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

Email the editor