We’re going to take a wild guess and say that you don’t want to catch the flu this year. We can’t give you a flu shot (though, if you haven’t gotten a flu shot yet, it’s not too late), but we can offer massage delivery, on demand – and believe it or not, a massage can help prevent you from catching the flu.
You’ve probably heard that this is the worst flu season in many a year. The season started early (back in October), and is still going strong. In fact, while the flu season typically peaks in February, some doctors believe that this particular germfest may last until May. To top it off, this year the flu is caused by the particularly pernicious H3N2 virus, against which vaccines are typically less effective.
So how do you avoid the flu? Your best defenses are a flu shot, frequent washing, avoiding sick people, and a strong immune system. That’s where massage comes in – because massage is great for making your immune system stronger.
How does massage boost your immune system? Massage affects the body in many positive ways.
Massage decreases stress.
Stress is at the heart of many illnesses. Studies have shown that chronic or long periods of stress can significantly weaken the immune system. When under stress, the body releases cortisol, the “fight or flight” hormone. While this might make you more alert and ready to wrestle bears, cortisol also lowers your white blood cell count, as well as the number of special bug-fighting cells called NK cells. Moreover, the effects of stress accumulate over time.
Massage has been proven to lower cortisol – so counter the effects of stress and treat your body well by hitting the massage table.
More white blood cells
Massage may, in fact, increase the number of white blood cells in your body. More massage means more white blood cells. More white blood cells means a better immune system, and, one hopes, a flu-free year.
Massage is a great way to increase blood circulation. This has the fortunate result of helping your body move bug-fighting cells like lymphocytes more efficiently throughout your body, attacking any viruses they come across.
It’s a matter of numbers. The more people you encounter, the more likely you are to get ill. Infected people can spread the flu just by breathing – not a pleasant thought when you’re stuck in a subway car or checkout line. Treat yourself to a lack of exposure to the flu by booking your next massage at home.
Bonus: spike massage lotion with antiviral oils
Remember, with Zeel you can customize your massage, and that includes tweaking massage lotion for added germ-fighting oomph. Ask your massage therapist to add a drop or two of tea tree oil to her massage lotion. Not only will you enjoy a great in-home massage, but the antiviral qualities of tea tree oil.
Marcy is the SVP of People and Communications at Zeel. In addition to overseeing the humans of Zeel, Marcy has written about workplace topics for more than 20 years both at Zeel and as VP of Content for Vault.com, a career information web site and publisher.