Massage and immunization

Did you know vaccination and massage are both trainings for your immune system?


We explain that later.


Well, this week is World Immunization Week, something we personally are very aware of. Our small kids have all the vaccinations provided by the national health care program, and so have we.


And we are very happy and thankful that vaccinations are available for us and our kids.

Not everyone is so lucky!

Kathy Madekerti for example. Her story touched me a lot, personally. I met Kathy in Bali, Indonesia when I travelled through South-East Asia to write books about development work, back in 2008. I still remember talking to many people, but Kathy in particular.

She was exactly my age.

Not so lucky

But our lives couldn’t have been more different.

Because I was lucky to get my first polio vaccination only a few weeks old. Like other children in the Netherlands.

Kathy didn’t.

She was born in a very remote area and by then the vaccination had not arrived at her place yet. She got polio when she was 3 months old. The vaccination reached her town too late. Just one month after she got polio the vaccine became available in her village.


Due to her polio, Kathy was never able to walk. Her legs were paralyzed. She didn’t get the aids she needed.

She crawled…

Being a child, she wanted to go to school and tried to crawl many times to the school bus. However, the bus drivers always closed the doors for her. They felt ashamed to take her on board of the bus.


Kathy’s story is one of many people with disabilities living in Bali. I quoted the director of the first organization in Bali for people with a disability. ‘In Bali, many people hide their kids with a handicap, because they are ashamed,’ says I Nengah Latra, the director of Yakkum. ‘They believe that someone with a disability has bad karma; he has done something bad in his past life and needs to pay for it.’

The director decided to personally go to villages to ask if people knew someone with a handicap. At first, no-one reacted but as soon he showed them pictures of smiling people with a disability and told his own story, doors opened. ‘They often sat in a back room, locked up and some even chained and had never seen daylight,’ remembers I Nengah. ‘Now years later, a lot has been improved. Many do even have a job now.’

So does Kathy. She finally received crutches at the age of 24 years old from this organization and just started a job making embroidery for designer scarfs sold for export.

How could her life have been different if she only got the vaccination?


Going back to that…. What is vaccination?

Vaccines contain a microorganism in a weakened or killed state or proteins or toxins from the organism. In stimulating the body’s adaptive immunity, they help prevent sickness from an infectious disease.

A photo

So if you get a vaccination you are training your immune system towards viruses and bacteria’s that can attack you. Because your body classifies this information and recognizes the immune cell for the next time when the virus or bacteria attacks. It is like your body has a photo of the microorganism, so it can recognize this when it comes to the body the next time. Therefore you can see getting a vaccination as a training to the immune system.


There is also another training for the immune system and that is massage. Because by massage you improve your blood circulation and your movement of lymph. And therefore you improve the capacity of your immune system.

Training the immune system

So, one training to improve your immune system is to recognize the type of virus and bacteria as with vaccinations. And another training is the one where you get a massage, to make your immune system stronger and more effective.

So… get your vaccinations and massage treatments to create a healthy day!

Nicole & Manel

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