The Psychological Benefits of Touch

Massage - Touch

Massage

is often thought of as a way to relax and unwind – And it is! But did you know there is a vital psychological component to massage as well? Touch is one of the most important cues human beings need to be able to form relationships, cooperate with one another and be healthier, too.

Touch is often overlooked and under-appreciated in our society. Many people are spread out and they remain in their homes more than before, communicating via smartphones and computer screens, instead of having face to face conversations and being close to one another. There is an emphasis for people to have a wide berth of personal space and not touch anyone else. But science is proving that human beings need touch more than they think. In fact, it seems to be imperative to good emotional and physical well-being.

The sad conditions of Romania’s orphanages from the 1960’s to the 1980’s is an example of how bad things can get when babies and infants are not held. During those years, contraception became restricted, abortions were outlawed and childless couples were taxed, in hopes of boosting the population, but over one hundred thousand children ended up in understaffed state run institutions because they could not be cared for. There was one nurse to over 20 infants and as a result, these infants did not get touched often. The psychological effects were astounding. They were void of expression, could not form bonds with others, and had issues so severe that many of them remain in institutions as adults.

When infants are touched often, it increases oxytocin levels in the brain and also seems to activate growth, attachment and response. When infants are not touched, the results are usually disastrous. They do not perform well cognitively, they do not form relationships and they are oftentimes disturbed. But it’s not just infants. When adults who are otherwise of sound mind and body get put into isolation, they quickly unravel and become disoriented, agitated and prone to hallucinations. We need human contact to be mentally healthy.

Where does touch come into all of this? One might think, sure we need some friends but why the emphasis on touch, specifically? Because scientific studies have parsed out touch versus socialization and discovered touch may be more important to well-being than socializing, alone.

For instance, When 20 premature infants were transferred to a normal care nursery, they were given ten minutes of touch therapy and stimulation three times a day. Compared to the other babies, they gained 47% more weight per day and scored higher on alertness and motor coordination tests. They were tested at eight months and twelve months, as well, and the benefits were still apparent. [1]

Infants aren’t the only ones who benefit from touch. When adolescent HIV patients were given massage therapy with their treatment, they reported less anxiety and depression, but also had an increased white blood cell count and immune response, compared to the ones who did not receive massage. [2] Some studies suggest the simple act of hugging other people can boost our own immune response. [3] Because of this, touch is starting to gain traction in nurseries and with the elderly, who are less sick and depressed if they receive massage. In fact, some programs pair elderly people with orphaned babies, for cuddle sessions and care, to their mutual benefit.

Human beings are social creatures. We depend on one another and need close relationships more than many of us would like to admit. Even more so, we need intrapersonal touch. Perhaps not everyone has a circle of friends, family, and lovers to fill that need. Long days at work, relocations, and digital communication seem to be pulling us all away from the tighter, tribal circles we once had. But this doesn’t have to be the way we live. Reach out and touch the people around you, visit people who may be lonely, volunteer to cradle infants, or get a massage on a regular basis. Studies show it will make you happier, healthier, and smarter.

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Sleep Benefits of Massage Therapy

Sleep Benefits of Massage Therapy

Massage Therapy for InsomniaDo you have trouble falling and staying asleep? Do you find yourself staring at the clock half the night and wondering what it would be like to catch a solid 8 hours of z’s?

If so, you’re not alone. One out of every ten people on this planet reportedly take prescription sleep aids to combat their sleep problems.

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that lack of sleep causes increased anxiety and moodiness, but did you also know that it can affect your health?

When our bodies are deprived of the rest they need, hormones become unbalanced and blood pressure increases causing possible health problems such as cardiovascular issues and diabetes. These issues themselves, ironically, also lead to sleep problems.

It’s a vicious cycle!

Pinpointing the cause could be helpful in controlling the problem, but there is one natural solution that could very possibly help you to sleep no matter what the reason.

Massage therapy.

Getting regular massages can help with most issues causing you unrest.

For Insomnia Caused by Chronic Pain

If pain is what is keeping you up all hours, massage therapy could definitely be your solution. Most chronic pain is either muscle or nerve related, and massage therapy helps to alleviate both. Regular massages will help to relax your muscles, thereby helping your body achieve a natural alignment, reducing most nerve pain.

For Insomnia Caused by Stress

Massage causes your body to release serotonin to the brain which is a natural anti-depressant. This combined with the relaxation factor of the massage, puts your body and mind into a more natural state of euphoria, lowering stress levels significantly.

For Insomnia Caused by Hormone Imbalance

Hormones are tricky. Any area of unbalance in the body can cause fluctuations that can cause weight gain, hair loss, anxiety, insomnia, depression, and a whole host of other affliction. Massage therapy is shown to aid the body in releasing certain hormones such as serotonin and dopamine, triggering emotions in the brain that cause a more relaxed environment for the entire body. Relieving stress alone can stabilize many hormone deficiencies.

Don’t let another sleepless night plague your health and your emotions. Book a massage today and let us help you to achieve a more natural state of relaxation!