In this article the positive effects of massage therapy on biochemistry are reviewed including decreased levels of cortisol and increased levels of serotonin and dopamine. The research reviewed includes studies on depression (including sex abuse and eating disorder studies), pain syndrome studies, research on auto-immune conditions (including asthma and chronic fatigue), immune studies (including HIV and breast cancer), and studies on the reduction of stress on the job, the stress of aging, and pregnancy stress. In studies in which cortisol was assayed either in saliva or in urine, significant decreases were noted in cortisol levels (averaging decreases 31%). In studies in which the activating neurotransmitters (serotonin and dopamine) were assayed in urine, an average increase of 28% was noted for serotonin and an average increase of 31% was noted for dopamine. These studies combined suggest the stress-alleviating effects (decreased cortisol) and the activating effects (increased serotonin and dopamine) of massage therapy on a variety of medical conditions and stressful experiences.
When we think of the word “positive,” most of us probably think “happy.” However, happiness isn’t the only type of positivity. There are many ways to be more positive in your life, even when you’re experiencing sadness, anger, or challenges.  Research suggests that we have powerful capabilities to choose positive emotions and ways of thinking.  In fact, our emotions literally change our bodies on a cellular level.  Many of our experiences in life are a result of how we interpret and respond to our surroundings. Fortunately, rather than repressing or trying to “get rid” of negative feelings, we can choose to interpret and respond to them differently.  You’ll find that with some practice, patience, and perseverance, you can become more positive.