A study was made of 16 bedridden elderly stroke patients. A
10-min skin rubdown for about 10 min was administered for 10
days. Blood was collected at noon on the day before skin
rubdown, 5 days and 10 days after initiation and 5 days after
completion, and the neutrophil count, lymphocyte count, serum
gamma globulin and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels and natural
killer cell activity were measured. In nine of these 16
patients, B, T, CD4 and CD8 lymphocyte counts were also measured
on the same days. There were no significant changes in the time
course of the lymphocyte count, gamma globulin or CRP levels.
The neutrophil count increased 10 days after initiation of the
skin rubdown, and natural killer cell activity increased 5 days
and 10 days days after initiation, and returned to the baseline
level 5 days after completion. Although there were no changes in
the time course of the B, T, CD4 and CD8 lymphocyte counts, the
CD4/CD8 ratio showed an increase 5 days after initiation and
completion. The authors concluded that skin rubdown activates
natural killer cells, which may be attributed to the effect of
certain mediators released from the T lymphocytes and/or the
stimulated effect on the sympathetic nerves.
Iwama H, Akama
Y. Skin rubdown with a dry towel activates natural killer cells
in bedridden old patients.
Cancer Killer cells activated by massage
The benefits of massage for these clients include improved blood
circulation, equalized blood pressure, and help with fatigue and
nausea. The place to start is by consulting with your physician
and your massage therapist. For those who are 2-3 months out
from treatment, bodywork that can be used includes lymph
drainage therapies, trigger point therapy, neuromuscular
therapy, myotherapy and myofascial release, among others. It's
better to wait before receiving deeper work.
While hospitalized, some appropriate techniques include
cranialsacral therapy, polarity therapy, reiki and Therapeutic
Touch. MacDonald said no matter how severe the cancer
treatment's side effects, a way can always be found to
administer some type of bodywork. According to massage therapist
and former oncology nurse Cheryl Chapman, while it's important
to receive touch from a qualified practitioner who has worked
with cancer patients before, "Touch is always appropriate --
there isn't anyone who is untouchable."
Ease cancer-related pain as
well as pain related to treatment and muscle tension.
Massage may help "take the edge off" of acute pain.
Help control nausea for
those undergoing cancer treatment and some types of bone
marrow transplants. A small study suggested that massage
helped lower medical costs of managing nausea and vomiting.
Improve sleep and lessen fatigue, common
side effects of cancer and its treatment.
Ease stress and anxiety. The
deeply relaxing effects of massage can help you cope with
the emotional stress of having a life-threatening illness.
If you have a family member who is in the advanced stages of
cancer, or if you know of a dear friend in this situation, you
may be glad to know that massage therapy has been found to be
beneficial for their care. This includes the various massage
therapy modalities offered by professional massage spas that
give reflexology massage therapy, Swedish massage therapy, deep