In this article, I’m going to teach you how deep tissue massage can help you prevent recurring cold sores. Deep tissue massage is one of the most underrated and underused natural treatment methods that can be used for cold sore prevention.
To fully understand how deep tissue massage can help, you need to first have a basic understanding of where cold sores come from, and what triggers outbreaks.
Let’s discuss this now, and then I’ll teach you about the benefits of using deep tissue massage to prevent cold sores.
Herpes Simplex Virus
Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are groups of small blisters that form on or near the lips. Cold sores are a result of something called herpes simplex virus (HSV).
There are two types of HSV, and both can cause cold sores. HSV-1 typically is responsible for cold sores, and HSV-2 is most often the cause of genital herpes.
However, both types of HSV can cause cold sores or genital herpes.
After primary infection, the virus resides in the associated dorsal root ganglion (cluster of nerve cells) where it lies dormant until an external stimuli (such as stress or immunosuppression) initiate reactivation of the virus from dormancy.
The virus lives on forever, and that’s why people continue to get cold sores over and over again.
There is no cure, but with the right lifestyle changes, you can drastically reduce, or even completely eliminate cold sore outbreaks.
Stress and Low Immune Function
If you suffer from recurring cold sores, you’re probably suffering from stress, a low immune system, or both. Stress and a depressed immune system are the top two things that trigger cold sore outbreaks.
Here is how stress can trigger cold sores:
- The herpes simplex virus lies dormant and inactive in your trigeminal nerve (ganglion).
- The virus stays dormant for some time, but then you become stressed out.
- Your stressed body releases cortisol (fight-or-flight stress chemical).
- The stress hormones weaken your immune system.
- You now have less lymphocytes to defend against the herpes simplex virus.
- The herpes simplex virus sees that you have less defense and it breaks free.
- You feel the first tingle/itch/burn, and soon after…you get a cold sore.
Two of the most beneficial things you can do to prevent cold sores are to reduce stress in your life, and boost your immune system. An effective (and pleasurable) way to kill two birds with one stone is to get regular deep tissue massages.
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage therapy is similar to Swedish massage, but the deeper pressure is beneficial in releasing chronic muscle tension. In deep tissue massage, the focus is on the deepest layers of muscle tissue, tendons, and fascia (the protective “spiderweb-like” layer surrounding muscles, bones, and joints).
One study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that 45-60 minutes of deep tissue massage lowered people’s blood pressure.
Furthermore, in 2010 a meta-analysis in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that massage modalities like deep tissue lead to the following benefits:
- Reduction of stress hormone levels
- Lowers heart rate
- Boosts mood and relaxation by triggering the release of oxytocin and serotonin
According to DrAxe.com, “Several mechanisms for deep massage’s dilate blood vessels and also lower activity of the limbic system (including the hypothalamus), which is responsible for autonomic nervous system regulation and cortisol secretion.
Massage has been shown to improve relaxation by boosting activity of the parasympathetic nervous system, as measured by heart rate, blood pressure and heart rate variability. ”
Along with being able to significantly reduce stress and improve mental and physical well-being, deep tissue massage therapy can also enhance the immune system.
Furthermore, a relaxing Swedish massage can also provide these benefits.
In a study from 2010, Swedish massage was researched to see if it did, in fact, boost the immune system. The purpose of this study was to determine effects of a single session of Swedish massage on neuroendocrine and immune function.
It was hypothesized that Swedish Massage Therapy would increase oxytocin (OT) levels, which would lead to a decrease in hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) activity and enhanced immune function.
The results showed that Swedish massage significantly enhanced immune system functioning.
Massage helps ward off bugs by boosting your “natural killer cells,” the immune system’s first line of defense against invading illness. Cortisol destroys natural killer cells, and since massage decreases cortisol, your immune cells get a boost.
How To Use Deep Tissue Massage To Prevent Cold Sores
While Swedish massage can help to prevent cold sores, I’m of the opinion that deep tissue massage is even more beneficial, as it reduces cortisol to a greater degree. And if you really want to boost the benefits, I recommend getting a deep tissue massage that incorporates acupressure and trigger point therapy (applying pressure to tender muscle tissue to relieve pain and dysfunction).
These techniques create the release of an abundance of endorphins, which are our endogenous opioid peptides (natural painkillers) known to reduce pain and produce a sense of euphoria.
After 15 minutes of the right massage techniques, endorphins come into play and their “feel good” effects may last up to 48 hours.
Here’s how to get the deep tissue massage benefits for cold sore prevention:
- Get 1-4 full-body deep tissue massages per month.
- Make sure to drink plenty of water after each massage.
- Eat light and healthy foods the entire day of your massage, and make sure it’s a relaxing day all-around.
Importance of a Strong Immune System
When the immune system is experiencing peak vitality and efficacy, this is typically able to fend off the herpes simplex virus from coming out of dormancy.
When the immune system is functioning low below the optimal level, the herpes simplex virus is more prone to “waking up,” coming out of dormancy and becoming “active,” thus causing a cold sore outbreak.
One of the main reasons people get cold sore outbreaks is because of a compromised immune system.
Herpes simplex lesions are referred to as “cold sores” and “fever blisters” because people are more susceptible to outbreaks when they have a cold or flu virus (compromised immune function).
Here are some effective ways to keep your immune system strong and healthy:
If you’re really committed to preventing cold sore outbreaks, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND taking a supplement called Immune Support.
Immune Support is an organic cold sore prevention supplement that has helped countless individuals. It works by boosting your immune system and preventing the herpes simplex virus from causing a cold sore.
If you have any comments or questions on the use of deep tissue massage for cold sore prevention, please post them in the comment box below.