During periods of stress, the effectiveness of the body’s immune system is reduced. Research indicates that massage can increase the immune system’s cytotoxic capacity (the activity level of the body’s natural “killer cells”) and decrease the number of T-cells, which improves the body’s immune functioning overall. Consumers aren't the only people recognizing the benefits of massage. Physicians and other healthcare providers are increasingly recommending massage therapy to their patients as a supplement to traditional health care. According to one national survey, 54 percent of primary care physicians and family practitioners would encourage their patients to pursue massage therapy as a treatment.