Cardiologist Recommends Massage for Good Health

Dr. Joel Kahn, a cardiologist, recently wrote a blog post on MindBodyGreen about the benefits of massage on overall health. The results of several studies back up Dr. Kahn’s assertion that many of us can benefit from massage.

In one study in 2008, researchers observed 263 volunteers who had 45-60 minute massages. The average drop in blood pressure was noticeable and overall recorded heart rates dropped by 10 beats per minute. These results were after just one massage.

In early 2013, fifty people with just mildly raised blood pressure had 15 minute massages three times a week for a total of 10 sessions. The control group of similar participants simply relaxed for the same amount of time. As predicted, the group who received massage did better, with their blood pressure falling and remaining lower for several days after the massage.

Recently 8 women with high blood pressure received a 60 minute massage once a week for 4 weeks. Their blood pressure fell 12 mmHg systolic and the blood marker that indicates inflammation fell too, showing that the overall body was healthier after massage.

Other studies show the stress hormone cortisol fell but other stress hormones, epinephrine and norepinephrine did not fall. More studies are planned to learn more about why and how these hormone levels fluctuate with massage.

Dr. Kahn reminds us of the other benefits of massage including helping with insomnia, relieving some symptoms of multiple sclerosis, aiding with post-operative recovery and fighting cancer pain. He repeats that it is not time for us to throw out all our medication or to abandon any lifestyle changes that benefit blood pressure. Still, the evidence is clear that massage helps improve blood pressure. If used in conjunction with other practices such as acupuncture, yoga, Tai Chi, or meditation, the impact on blood pressure can be even more pronounced.

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