The negative impacts of stress on health are frequently discussed, but when it comes to getting vaccinated, being under stress could actually do you good.
Researchers from the University of Auckland monitored the stress levels of 70 medical students during exam time and also measured their immune response to a hepatitis B vaccination. Half of the students were given a 50-minute massage each week.
Keith Petrie said: "It may not be a surprise to hear that the medical students who received a weekly massage reported lower stress levels in the run up to their exams. However, we also discovered that these less stressed students had a less vigorous immune response to the hepatitis B vaccination than the other students.
For vaccination to be effective at immunising against future disease the body should show a good immune response as this is how the body develops antibodies to specific illnesses.
"Our research shows that in some instances, like vaccination, feelings of stress may actually have health benefits," concluded Keith Petrie.
"A possible reason for this is because in evolutionary terms, having an immune system that increases when faced with stressful situations would improve survival chances when wounded or injured."