The Check-Up: Today’s Top Health Headlines

What's buzzing in the health-and-fitness world this AM

You might want to hit the massage table—instead of the NyQuil bottle—the next time you have a cold.

• Here’s another reason to love your morning cup of Joe: According to a new study, caffeine may be able to protect skin from the damaging effects of ultraviolet light. The study, which used lab mice as subjects, found evidence that applying caffeine directly to the skin may help prevent skin cancer. Based on the promising results, I wouldn’t be surprised to find caffeine-laced sunscreens on the shelves in a few years.

• Researchers in Los Angeles have found that massages might be good for than just relaxing. They studied blood samples of over 50 subjects who underwent light-touch and Swedish massages. In the subjects who received Swedish massages, researchers found “significant changes in lymphocytes…[which] play a large role in defending the body from disease.” The findings suggest that massage may actually help you fight off infections.

• If you’ve ever shopped for health insurance, you know just how confusing the process can be. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that federal regulators may soon require insurance companies to provide consumers with a form that would explain the details of a plan in a manner similar to nutrition labels on food products—in other words, in a much more streamlined fashion. At a glance, consumers would be able to understand everything from deductibles to co-pays to how much an ambulance ride would cost. If you’ve ever tried to make sense of insurance policies, you know how handy something like this could be.