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Are There Health Benefits to Getting a Tattoo?

It's time to break the taboo around tattoos.

Tattoos have a bit of a taboo surrounding them; with the older generation scrunching up their noses when they spot them, and people being discriminated against in the workplace if they have visible ink. This still exists, but the approach to tattoos is slowly changing and more and more people are getting them, including celebs and fitness stars, and there may be even more people who want to get inked now that there's a study suggesting there could be health benefits involved with getting tattoos.

A study (which is admittedly small) of 29 people was published in the American Journal of Human Biology and revealed that people with multiple tattoos could have a better immune system than those who were only getting their first tattoo. Researchers from the University of Alabama collected saliva samples from before and after the volunteer had a tattoo and then tested it for levels of immunoglobulin A. According to associate professor Christopher Lynn, immunoglobulin A is, “a front line of defense against some of the common infections we encounter, like colds.”

So, what exactly did they find? According to Huffington Post, researchers found that those getting their first tattoo had their levels of Immunoglobulin A decline faster than those who already had tattoos, suggesting that those with more ink had immune systems that could better deal with that sort of stress.

Another benefit of a tattoo could be down to the fact that the process creates an endorphin release.

Physical health benefits aside, the mental health benefits could be that tattoos can be a release or a way to channel emotion. Many tattoos have significant meaning for the person who chose to ink them, and it’s a form of self-expression.

According to CrowdHNews, for some, a tattoo can be therapeutic and calming. And ATTN: reports that co-owner of a tattoo studio, Joanne Martian, says there is a mental aspect involved in getting a tattoo. She revealed, "I think a lot of mental stamina needs to be accounted for since mind over matter is usually what helps get you through longer sessions…”

[Image via Shutterstock]

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