Any massage client will attest to the relaxing power of massage therapy. And new research indicates massage therapy combined with heat relaxes the autonomic nervous system.

One hundred thirty-nine subjects volunteered and completed this study, according to an abstract published on www.pubmed.gov. Heat and massage were daily applied for 40 minutes, five days a week for two weeks.

Among the results was a significant decrease in levels of both serum cortisol, commonly referred to as the stress hormone, and plasma norepinephrine, which causes vasoconstriction and increased heart rate.

“The results of this study suggest that heat and massage applications provide relaxation to the autonomic nervous system without serious adverse events,” the investigators noted in the abstract.

“The effects of heat and massage application on autonomic nervous system” was conducted by investigators at Yonsei University Wonju College of Medicine in Korea and was published in Yonsei Medical Journal. (2011 Nov 1;52(6):982-9.)

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