Swedish massages are good for many things: relieving tension, destressing, taking a much-needed mind break. And now there's scientific proof that all that time you spend with soft hands and aromatic oils can be good for your health. The study compared Swedish massage to light touch only and found that just one 45-minute massage session increased white blood cell counts, which are an important part of your immune system, and had other measurable health benefits as well. With flu season just around the corner, keeping your immune system in tip-top shape is vital, but a day at the spa may not be the most cost-effective option. For cheaper doctor-tested immune-boosting alternatives,
- Get some daily exercise — Research has shown that moderate exercise on a regular basis can strengthen your immune system.
- Snack on yogurt — The probiotics in yogurt and other foods add good bacteria to your intestines, keeping them balanced and ready to defend you against viruses.
- Eat some flaxseed — Omega-3s, like those found in certain seeds, nuts, and fish, keep you from having a weakened immune system.
- Wash those mitts — Like we've been told countless times, washing your hands is an effective way of stopping germs from getting to you.
- Don't worry, be happy — Do something you enjoy! Happiness has been shown to boost your immune system.