Massage Takes on High Cholesterol!

By Sharon Truelove

blog1How does massage help? Stress produces change in the body’s chemistry. Keeping the autonomic system on overdrive constantly, causes the liver to dump too much cholesterol into the  bloodstream. Massage, via relaxation, turns off the fight/flight response, and helps lower cholesterol by stopping the flood of cholesterol into the bloodstream. Thus, it lowers one’s risk of heart disease.


Japanese research has shown that massage may be another method used in the fight to help  reduce cholesterol. When Anma massage was given for 25 minutes, blood tests showed that post-massage, cholesterol levels were lowered.


What is cholesterol? It is a soft, waxy fat, and is a natural substance found in the body’s cells and blood. It is essential to the body’s health. When there is too much, it can lead to cardiovascular problems by building up and it can lead to blockage of the arteries which can lead to heart attack/stroke.

Heredity can play a part in too much cholesterol production.  The increase in sedentary lifestyles combined with a high saturated fat diet, may make hereditary high cholesterol harder to battle.

According to Nicole Cutler, L.Ac.,

“In an effort to evaluate the effects of massage on anxiety, the immune system and blood cholesterol levels, Japanese researchers examined participants receiving Anma massage before and after a 25-minute session. Results of the study compared baseline measures to post-massage measures, and there were significant improvement in all areas. As determined by blood tests, participants had lower total cholesterol levels after receiving Anma Massage.

By focusing on the entire body, the subjects received a fully clothed Anma massage that combined pressure, friction and touch with deep tissue bodywork. The practitioners used the following techniques: effleurage, kneading with whole hands and kneading with thumbs along the muscle. Each massage followed a specific order, beginning with the head and neck, then moving to the shoulders, back and hips, upper limbs and the lower limbs. Study participants were asked to let the massage therapist know the most comfortable level of pressure.”

Three different types of fat that are measured in “Total Cholesterol” are:

  • low density lipoproteins aka LDL
  • high density lipoproteins aka HDL
  • triglycerides aka TRI

Blood tests  measure milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL). The four range of  numbers that you want to pay attention to on your blood work are:

Total Cholesterol:

  • Normal = 140 – 200
  • Moderate Risk = 200 – 240
  • High Risk = > 240



Known as “bad” cholesterol it, increases the chance of  heart disease by accumulating on the arterial walls.

  • Desirable = < 100
  • Less desirable = 100-129
  • Borderline = 130-159
  • High = 169-189
  • Very high= > 190



The chemical form of fat, high triglyceride levels are linked to a higher risk of coronary artery disease.

  • Normal =< 150
  • Mildly High =150-199
  • High = 200-499
  • Very High = > 500



The  “good” cholesterol.

Higher number=lower risk.

Protects by removing the “bad” cholesterol from our blood and keeps it from building up in the arteries.

  • Optimal = 60+
  • Risk = <40 men/<50 women
According to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the upper limit for dietary cholesterol is an average of 300 mg a day. Of that total, approximately, no more than 18 grams saturated fat and zero grams trans fat a day.


Physicians advise four changes to help balance cholesterol:

  1. Weight Reduction
  2. Exercise
  3. Diet (lots of high fiber, antioxidants and Omega-3’s)
  4. Stop Smoking

By keeping one’s weight down, exercising regularly, eating healthy, not smoking and receiving massage regularly; you stand a good chance of keeping your numbers in the most desirable range.

Have you had your cholesterol checked in the last year? Did you have to do anything to change the numbers?

16 thoughts on “Massage Takes on High Cholesterol!”

  1. very good to know, even for myself. Just this year I was diagnosed with high cholesterol. So that along with high blood pressure puts me in danger. I lost my mother at MY age so this reminds me to remember to get a massage for that reason. Thank you

  2. Although I do not have a cholesterol problem now, and I hope never, in case I do in the future this is very good to know. It’s very interesting and I hope to help my future client’s that may have this problem.

  3. that is useful info for the day I come into contact with a client that has cholesterol issues

  4. This article is very interesting to me because i just recently had my cholesterol checked. Everything checked out. It is good to know that there are other ways to keep cholesterol down besides working out and eating healthy. Thank You!!!!

  5. it is always great to find so many more benfits than I realize were possible. Nice to know that we make a difference inside and outside the body!

  6. This is very important and good to know information. I didn’t know massage could help cholesterol. It’s amazing what massage can do. I’m very thankful for these blog posts! I always learn a ton of information and new ways to not only keep myself healthy but help others maintain good health as well. Thanks!

  7. That’s great that it lowers cholesterol. I had no idea that massage had so many benefits to the human body, other than relaxation. In the past people never had a problem with high levels of cholesterol, i mean during the bronze age, etc and so on. That’s because many people valued massage and it took part of their everyday lives. It’s good that massage was “reinvented” in the 1900’s. It’s amazing that we as therapists, can heal or cure ailments that we have running rampant today. Such as high cholesterol, cancers, stiffness, stress, i even hear that someone in California invented a way to help smokers quit because of certain massage techniques. I find this business is far from over in exploration, and cant wait to find things out myself, and learn what others can accomplish by using new and inventive techniques of massage.

  8. Massage therapy benefits people of all ages. While it benefits the injured, the ill and the stressed, the strength of massage therapy in preventing illness and conditions before they develop cannot be overlooked.