The gift of touch creates physical and mental health. You can become happier, healthier, less stressed, and reduce your heart rate and blood pressure with the healing power of touch. The health benefits of massage affect both your body and mind.
Health Benefits of Massage and Touch
Massage can increase your immune function while reducing your heart rate and blood pressure. Cortisol is a stress hormone that results in immune suppression. Research headed by Mark Rapaport, M.D., Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, shows massage can increase your immune function. A group of massaged individuals showed a vast increase in the number of white blood cells, including natural killer cells. These cells help the body fight viruses and illness.
Massage and touching create a surge in oxytocin. Oxytocin is a healing, calming hormone. This helps increase the relaxation response which restores healing to the body and mind. Research from the University of North Carolina showed hugging floods your body with oxytocin while lowering your blood pressure and heart rate.
Many Methods of Touching Are Effective
Massage. Studies continue to reveal the health benefits of massage for the body and mind.
Hugging. Research shows hugging has an incredible effect on your blood pressure, heart rate, and cortisol production.
Holding hands. University of Virginia researcher studies revealed even holding hands had an effect on the hypothalamus. Holding hands reduced stress related activity in the area of this area of the brain. This study also showed that holding hands helped reduce pain as reflected in studying the area of the brain related to levels of pain.
Snuggle with your pet. Research shows your blood pressure drops, your pain is reduced, and your immune function increases when you cuddle with your pet