When someone you love hugs you or holds your hand, your blood pressure goes down, your stress hormones drop and your immune system gets a big boost.
Healing touch is a tradition in almost every civilization. It’s been used for over 5,000 years to heal injuries, relieve pain and even prevent and cure illnesses.
But today doctors snicker at massage therapy. They push Big Pharma’s drugs for stress, pain, insomnia and anxiety. These drugs just mask problems. And they all come with all kinds of nasty side effects.
Modern science confirms what the ancients knew…
Massage therapy can relieve stress, boost your immune system and rejuvenate your skin. And I recommend it to my patients as a powerful anti-aging therapy.
Let me explain…
Cortisol is the hormone your body produces in response to stress. And high cortisol levels erode your telomeres.1
Telomeres are the protective caps at the end of each of your chromosomes. As those caps wear down, they expose your DNA to damage.
Your cells start to malfunction. They lose their ability to make healthy new cells. That leads to premature aging. Your risk of chronic disease goes up. You start to look and feel like an “old.”
Research shows that women with the most stress have the shortest telomeres.2 Harvard researchers found that telomere lengths in the most stressed women are linked to 6 additional years of aging.3
Massage therapy can help reverse all of that by reducing stress. In fact, studies show that massage can reduce cortisol levels by up to 31%.4
Many other studies document the amazing anti-aging benefits of massage. Studies show getting a massage can:
- Boost blood flowto help nourish your skin and make it look radiant and young
- Get your lymphatic system moving to remove toxins and reduce cellulite5
- Boost your immunity by increasing the activity of your "natural killer cells"
- Ease chronic back pain as well as joint pain and stiffness
- Lift anxiety and depression
- Improve your love life by increasing levels of the hormone oxytocin
- Increase delta brain waves for better sleep
I advise my patients to stop thinking about massage as a luxury and start thinking about it as a powerful anti-aging therapy. I recommend getting a regular dose of healing touch at least once a month.
You can also give yourself a rejuvenating facial massage at home…
Muscle tension can lead to fine lines, wrinkles, smile lines at the sides of the mouth, frown lines between the eyebrows and crow’s feet.
Relieving stress and relaxing muscles with a regular facial massage can reduce the aging look of all these wrinkles. A good facial massage can also increase blood flow to plump up skin, drain toxins from the lymph system to reduce bloating and add a youthful glow to your skin.
Taking a few minutes every day to gently massage your face can relax tense muscles, smooth your skin and make you look years younger. It’s like an instant facelift. Here’s how…
Facial Massage Erases the Years
- Start with a clean face.
- Apply several drops of a good anti-aging facial oil to your fingertips. Good facial oil choices include grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, or apricot kernel oil.
- Starting with your chest area, massage your neck upward with your fingertips in quick light strokes.
- Then massage under your ears where your lymph nodes are. Use big circular strokes that go down from the ears toward the neck and then up along the jaw line.
- Continue massaging with upward strokes from the chin and jaw line all the way up to the forehead. Massage the cheek area in circular motions from the nose to the ears. Use firm strokes without hurting yourself.
- Use gentle circular motions all around your eye area. Start above the eyebrows giving a gentle upward lift to the corners of the eyes. Continue under the eyes and then inside the corners and returning to the eyebrows.
- Massage your forehead in circular strokes starting from the temples toward the middle of the forehead.
- Massage each area for one to three minutes. Your whole facial massage should take 10 to 20 minutes.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. Choi, J., et al. “Reduced Telomerase Activity in Human T Lymphocytes Exposed to Cortisol.” Brain Behav Immun. May 2008.
2. Kirsi Ahola et al, “Work-Related Exhaustion and Telomere Length: A Population-Based Study.” PLOS One, Published: July 11, 2012.
3. Olivia I. Okereke et al, “High Phobic Anxiety Is Related to Lower Leukocyte Telomere Length in Women.” PLOS One Published: July 11, 2012.
4. Field T, Hernandez-Reif M, Diego M, Schanberg S, Kuhn C. “Cortisol decreases and serotonin and dopamine increase following massage therapy.” Int J Neurosci. 2005 Oct 3.
5. Bayrakci Tunay V, Akbayrak T, Bakar Y, Kayihan H, Ergun N. “Effects of mechanical massage, manual lymphatic drainage and connective tissue manipulation techniques on fat mass in women with cellulite.” J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2010 Feb.