Chair Massage

Chair massage focuses on your neck, shoulders, and back to give you quick relaxation and relief from stress. It can also be used to ease someone in the world of massage.

What is a chair massage?

The massage utilizes light to medium pressure to offer relief. In the session, a person sits on a massage chair, fully clothed. The massage therapist may request you to sit while facing the chair for him/ her to access your back.

The benefits of chair massage include:

  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Offers relief from soft tissue and muscle pain.
  • Helps to cure or reduce the intensity of headaches (both chronic headaches and migraines)
  • Gives relief from arthritic pain and carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Helps to cure body tension and offers relief from fatigue
  • Offers a cure for back, shoulder and neck pain
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Improved blood circulation to the hands and brain

In addition to lowering stress and increasing productivity, massage can significantly improve employee problem-solving abilities. A recent study in American Psychologist gave one group of workers a 15-minute rest, and another, a 15-minute massage. The group that received the massage performed significantly better on complicated tasks like math problems.

Massage also improves creative thinking and relieves fatigue.

How to choose the best massage therapy for you

There are several considerations however to make before deciding on the type of massage therapy that you should get. The following are the common things to consider:

  • Is it your first time getting a massage or do you frequently get a massage? The Swedish massage is the best massage if you are getting a massage for the first time. However, other types of massages can be used when it’s your first massage.
  • Do you have major pain or minor pain? And where is the pain located?
  • How much time do you have for the massage?
  • Are you comfortable with aromas?
  • The type of muscles targeted/ the area of focus. Some massages like Swedish massage target the superficial muscles whole others like deep tissue massage target the deep-lying muscles, tendons, and joints.
  • Cause of the injury or pain. Pains caused by repeated use of a muscle like in sports are better treated using deep tissue massage or sports massage
  • The end result desired: A Thai massage gives an energy boost and mental stimulation while a Swedish massage gives improved relaxation and sleep.

All of these are things to consider and to speak with your masseur about when booking your appointment.

Book Your Massage @ Zen Massage

If you want the best masseurs in Salt Lake City, set up an appointment with ZEN Massage today! Book Online or Call (801) 467-3529

Zen Massage

5520 South Van Winkle Expy

Salt Lake City, UT 84117

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What is most important for customers/clients to know during Covid-19

First, you must schedule your appointment online before coming to our location (in other words no walk-ins). Book Online or set an appointment over the phone, call ZEN Massage at 801-467-3529.
Second, bring a mask for yourself. You will need to wear it for your full session. 
Third, Your Zen Massage Therapist will also be wearing a mask during sessions.
Fourth, Zen Massage Therapists will make sure appointments are spaced 30 min between each client and will meticulously clean and sanitize everything in between each of our clients. 
Last, If you feel ill please call and cancel your appointment. Thank you.

How often should you get a massage for anxiety?

Massages have so many benefits in the life of the individual. The benefits on pain, anxiety, depression, cardiovascular conditions, sports among others make massage something to consider.

Several of our clients have asked, “how often should I get a massage for anxiety?” The answer lies in your answers to the following questions:

  • How available are you for the anxiety massage
  • Do you have enough resources to get the massage regularly
  • How extreme is your anxiety
  • The type of massage therapy preferred
  • Availability of a massage parlor for stress and anxiety near me
  • Availability of qualified massage therapists.

For anxiety, depending on the stressfulness of your situation, it is recommended that you get a massage regularly after a week or two. This means you can get a massage twice, thrice, or four times in a month by a qualified massage therapist.

What are the best massage therapies for anxiety and stress?

Most of the massage types work on pain, stress, and anxiety. However, there are some anxiety types recommended if you have chronic anxiety or have an anxiety disorder.

Some of the best massage therapy for massage include:

  • Shiatsu massage
  • Swedish massage
  • Hot stone massage
  • Thai Massage
  • Aromatherapy
  • Deep tissue massage

These types of massage help in anxiety and work on the different body parts and stimuli for anxiety.

Massage is a good therapy for anxiety. It has been recommended by several senior psychologists and psychiatrists. It is also recommended in several books on anxiety. As one of the founders of anxiety disorder treatments, I always advise my clients to get a massage either by a qualified massage therapist or by the use of massagers.

Massage therapies also work on chronic pain, stress, depression, cardiovascular conditions among other disorders.

Set up an appointment with ZEN Massage in Salt Lake City today! Book Online or Call (801) 467-3529

Zen Massage

5520 South Van Winkle Expy

Salt Lake City, UT 84117

Source

What is most important for customers/clients to know during Covid-19

First, you must schedule your appointment online before coming to our location (in other words no walk-ins). Book Online or set an appointment over the phone, call ZEN Massage at 801-467-3529.
Second, bring a mask for yourself. You will need to wear it for your full session. 
Third, Your Zen Massage Therapist will also be wearing a mask during sessions.
Fourth, Zen Massage Therapists will make sure appointments are spaced 30 min between each client and will meticulously clean and sanitize everything in between each of our clients. 
Last, If you feel ill please call and cancel your appointment. Thank you.

Hot Stone Massage in SLC

Hot Stone Massage

Hot Stone Massage is commonly used for the treatment of anxiety, stress and depression, back pain, and insomnia. 

Hot Stone massage is quite similar to Swedish massage, the flow of hand strokes, kneading and rolling, but in addition to using hands, hot stone massage as the name implies uses smooth heated stones for therapy. The therapist can sometimes hold the stones during therapy.

This massage is very useful in people with tension and pain in the muscles. It is also good for people who want to relax. It also may enhance blood flow and relieve stress.

The most used stones for this therapy are the Basalt river rocks. These stones are very smooth in addition to the ability to retain heat for some time. They are heated using a professional stone heater to a temperature of between 110 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

The heated stones are placed in different parts of the body. Qualified massage therapists use the body’s anatomy to place the stones in areas thought to balance the mind and body energy and wellbeing.

The weight and heat from the stones give relaxation and warming to the muscles. The therapist can then give a deep therapy massage to the areas warmed with little or no pain.

The massage is used for the treatment of anxiety, stress and depression, back pain, and insomnia. Research on all the massages has shown that they have benefits in prenatal depression, arthritis, fibromyalgia, hypertension, autoimmune conditions among others.

Book Your Hot Stone Massage @ Zen Massage

If you’re ready for a Hot Stone Massage and want the best masseurs in Salt Lake City, set up an appointment with ZEN Massage today!

Book Online or Call (801) 467-3529

Zen Massage

5520 South Van Winkle Expy

Salt Lake City, UT 84117

Source

What is most important for customers/clients to know during Covid-19

First, you must schedule your appointment online before coming to our location (in other words no walk-ins). Book Online or set an appointment over the phone, call ZEN Massage at 801-467-3529.
Second, bring a mask for yourself. You will need to wear it for your full session. 
Third, Your Zen Massage Therapist will also be wearing a mask during sessions.
Fourth, Zen Massage Therapists will make sure appointments are spaced 30 min between each client and will meticulously clean and sanitize everything in between each of our clients. 
Last, If you feel ill please call and cancel your appointment. Thank you.

Massage Relaxation from Anxiety

Massage has gained popularity in the recent past in the management of emotional disorders like stress, depression, and anxiety disorders. In addition, it also helps you to have quality sleep.

For anxiety, massage offers relaxation and helps to reduce the fears. It is also great in managing other symptoms of anxiety disorders. It also improves attention.

Common types of massage

Swedish massage

A Swedish massage is one of the most widely used type of massage. It involves gentle full body massage best suited for people who are having a massage for the first time.

It is also good for people who have lots of tension in the muscles and also those who are sensitive to touch.

The massage helps the whole body to relax and can also help to cure muscle tightness, hardness, and tenseness. Therefore, it is one of the best massages for relaxation and relieving minor pain.

The Swedish massage uses a combination of the following:

  • Long strokes for a start which flows in the course of the heart
  • Muscle rolling and kneading (Petrissage)
  • Pressure application on sore points
  • Passive joint movement procedures
  • Vibration, shaking and pattering of the muscles
  • Tapotement (rhythmic tapping)

Aromatherapy massage

This is an excellent massage therapy for anxiety and healing other emotional problems. This therapy uses diluted essential oils to offer soft, tender pressure on your body.

It is great in giving you the following:

  • A boost to your moods
  • Reduce anxiety, depression and stress
  • Cure the tense muscles
  • Offer relief from pain

In this massage, most of the time you are given essential oils to inhale in addition to the application on the skin. This is by using an essential oil diffuser. The diffuser disperses natural oils into the air for you to inhale.

It has been proven by several studies that inhaling lavender and other essential oils are effective in treating neurological disorders. These disorders include anxiety disorders, negative moods, sleeping problems, pains, and convulsions/ seizures

Reflexology

Reflexology is the application of pressure to the feet, ears, and hands so that you can relax and reduce stress. It can also restore the natural energy to the normal levels.

Reflexology focuses on the pressure points for people who do not want a full body massage but still want relief from stress and anxiety. In the procedure, the therapist may require you to wear loose clothing so that he/ she can access the feet.

There is a hypothesis that some parts of the feet relate to different organs in the body. From this theory, a massage in an area of the foot, in which a foot chart is used to guide, can lead to relaxation and therapy to the corresponding body organ or system.

Reflexology according to several studies has been shown to alleviate or reduce pain, anxiety, and stress. It has also been shown to facilitate quality sleep. It is also non-intrusive thus can easily be explored for anxiety therapy.

Book Your Zen Massage

If you’re ready to ease your anxiety and want the best masseurs in Salt Lake City, contact us and set up an appointment with ZEN Massage today!

Book Online or Call (801) 467-3529

Zen Massage

5520 South Van Winkle Expy

Salt Lake City, UT 84117

Source

What is most important for customers/clients to know during Covid-19

First, you must schedule your appointment online before coming to our location (in other words no walk-ins). Book Online or set an appointment over the phone, call ZEN Massage at 801-467-3529.
Second, bring a mask for yourself. You will need to wear it for your full session. 
Third, Your Zen Massage Therapist will also be wearing a mask during sessions.
Fourth, Zen Massage Therapists will make sure appointments are spaced 30 min between each client and will meticulously clean and sanitize everything in between each of our clients. 
Last, If you feel ill please call and cancel your appointment. Thank you.

Therapeutic Massage for Anxiety & Panic Disorder

How Massage Therapy Can Help Ease Anxiety and Panic Disorder Symptoms

Massage therapy can help the body relax, which in turn can help one let go of anxious and fearful thoughts. Massage can relieve muscle pain and tension, improve circulation, and increase flexibility. As a relaxation technique, massage therapy can work to manage the fight-or-flight response, or stress reaction, that is typically overactive among people with anxiety disorders.

The fight-or-flight reaction is responsible for causing fearful thoughts and reactions that often far outweigh any actual threat in the environment. For example, people with agoraphobia often fear having a panic attack in a large crowd or confined areas where it would feel embarrassing or difficult to escape.

The fight-or-flight reaction typically leads to uncomfortable physical symptoms, such as shortness of breath, accelerated heart rate, excessive sweating, and chest pain. Massage therapy can have an opposing effect on the body by eliciting the relaxation response, reducing tension, lowering heart rate, and generally making a person feel calmer.

Physical Benefits of Massage

  • Less muscle pain and tension
  • Improved circulation and flexibility
  • Lower heart rate

Mental Benefits of Massage

  • Less anxious thoughts
  • Tamed fight-or-flight response
  • Lower tension and more feelings of calm

Getting Started with Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is often offered at many spas, salons, and wellness centers. However, as it continues to become a more mainstream treatment option, massage is now offered at many hospitals and clinics. Some insurance companies may even cover massage therapy services.

When meeting with your massage therapist for the first time, make sure to discuss your medical history, including your panic and anxiety symptoms.

It is important to schedule these services with a licensed or certified massage therapist. This ensures that you will get treatment from a qualified practitioner who has followed the standards and requirements for their state licensure. Licensed massage therapists can be found through website directories, including the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork and the American Massage Therapy Association.

Let the massage therapist know if you have any areas of discomfort throughout your body. Also discuss what you hope to get out of the massage, such as muscle or stress relief.

Generally, massage therapy only has a few potential adverse side effects. Many people experience some soreness throughout their body the first few days following a massage. However, you should never feel pain or discomfort during or after a massage. Massage is also contraindicated for certain medical conditions. Always consult your doctor before getting a massage if you are unsure if it’s right for you.

Studies have supported the safety and effectiveness of utilizing massage therapy for stress, anxiety, and depression—but if you are experiencing panic attacks and other symptoms of panic disorder, talk to your doctor before trying this and other CAM practices.

Your doctor will be able to assist you with conventional treatment options, such as medication and therapy. Massage may be beneficial in helping you manage your condition but is not a substitute for traditional medical care. Massage therapy may be incorporated into your standard treatment plan to assist you in coping with panic disorder.

If you’re ready to ease your anxiety and want the best masseurs in Salt Lake City, contact us and set up an appointment with ZEN Massage today!

Book Online

(801) 467-3529

Zen Massage

5520 South Van Winkle Expy

Salt Lake City, UT 84117

Source

Sports Massage in Salt Lake City

Sports Massage in Salt Lake City

Today’s athletes expect the most out of their bodies to perform at maximum efficiency. This can cause serious stress to be put on the body which in turn can cause muscle fatigue and even serious injury. Sports massage therapy is specialized massage therapy that identifies the muscle group in need of repair and works to minimize the stress put on the body by aggressive training. At Zen Massage, we help athletes maintain peak efficiency and recovery with targeted sports massage therapy at our Salt Lake City massage studio.

Sports Massage Therapy for the pros or the weekend warrior

You don’t have to play for the Utah Jazz to receive sports massage therapy in Salt Lake City. At ZEN Massage, our massage therapists can help everyone, including amateur athletes, weekend warriors, and daily joggers.

Reduce sports injuries and get back in the game faster

Frequent injuries and repeated motions can cause chronic pain and restrict your range of motion. If your body isn’t prepared to perform at its peak, you can be sure that you won’t reach the level of performance you desire. Our sports massage methods put emphasis on preventing injury and healing the stressed muscles and tendons by stimulating blood circulation in the affected area. At ZEN Massage, our sports massage therapy addresses the areas of motion which you use frequently to promote faster recovery and flexibility.

Perform at your best

If you are expecting to compete in an event, a preventative, stimulating massage will direct the blood flow to the areas of the body that are going to be used. This ensures that your blood is pumping, your muscles are ready, and you have a full range of motion to compete at your best.

After the big game or an especially grueling workout, there is nothing better for your muscles than a therapeutic sports massage. When you’re working at your best, your muscles are taking the beating of a lifetime. To prevent injury and promote muscle recovery, a post-event sports massage will repair muscles and normalize the body’s tissues.

Rehab from sports injuries

One of the most popular uses for sports massage is for the rehabilitation of a previous injury. Nothing slows you down like chronic pain from an old injury. Our massage therapists work on the injury location as well as on the muscle groups associated with the injury that may be causing additional pain from over-compensation due to the injury.

The massage therapists at ZEN Massage are ready to get you back in playing form. Contact us about our Sports Massage Therapy in Salt Lake City today!

Sports / Injury Therapy — 45 minutes for $65

Zen Massage in Salt Lake City give us a call (801) 467-3529

Impressive Benefits of Massage for Skiers

Impressive Benefits of Massage for Skiers

Impressive Benefits of Massage for Skiers

Whether you’re a bunny slope newbie or a double black diamond pro, skiing is one of the best ways to enjoy winter. But nursing a twisted ankle or bad back does not make for an enjoyable ski experience.

If you want to stay injury-free while enjoying long days out on the slopes this ski season, consider massage therapy. Massage can be a great solution for your aching muscles after a hard day of skiing and can improve your athletic performance.

We know that a week spent happily shredding fresh powder comes with its own set of aches and pains. Sometimes ignoring those pains for too long can even lead to more serious injuries. It’s important to stop pain in the early stages to prevent it from becoming a bigger problem, and massage can help you do just that.

Common Skiing Injuries

Although skiing is quite popular around the world, it’s one of the most injury-prone recreational sports that Americans engage in on a regular basis. The most common skiing mishap is knee injury—accounting for about 35% of all skiing related injuries—often caused by a twisting motion while falling. Upper body injuries like sprained thumbs and shoulder injuries are also all too common.

Injury Prevention for Skiers

There are a variety of ways to prevent injuries on the slopes. Enhancing your fitness level before ski season will help with flexibility, strength, and balance (fewer wipeouts = fewer injuries).

Regardless, you’re still likely to have sore spots and aches from the physical rigor of a hard day of skiing. So, what can you do to speed up your recovery time and prevent major injury?

Benefits of Massage for Skiers

Massage therapy has a long list of benefits for skiers who want to recuperate quickly so they can get back out and perform their best on the powder. In fact, getting a massage in the middle of a typical ski week could be just the tune-up that your body needs to run at its optimal level. According to the American Massage Therapy Association, research shows that massage therapy can:

1. Decrease muscles soreness and tension

Sports massage helps you relax those tired muscles after a hard day skiing.

2. Reduce recovery time from an injury

Deep tissue massage promotes muscle healing after strenuous activity, allowing you to get back on the slopes sooner.

3. Improve muscle flexibility

Massage can make you more limber, which can help prevent common skiing injuries.

4. Improve circulation

Swedish massage techniques improve blood flow, keeping you warm and your muscles oxygenated.

5. Improve joint range of motion

Sports massage techniques target tissues and ligaments around joints, providing you with more mobility when chasing your buddy down the slope.

6. Increase relaxation and improve sleep quality

You’ll rest easy after a soothing massage post-ski, according to AMTA research.

7. Reduce anxiety

The calming effect of massage can also alleviate any anxiety you may be dealing with, like paying for that speeding ticket you got on the way to the ski resort.

8. Lower blood pressure

You can improve your heart health with stress-busting Swedish massage.

9. Improve proprioception (awareness of body positioning)

Sports massage techniques can help improve your body awareness, essential for when you’re flying past trees, bunny slope skiers, or other obstacles on the slopes.

10. Promote connective tissue healing

With faster recovery time, you can look forward to getting back on your skis the day after a massage.

Types of Massage for Skiers

Skiers can benefit from a variety of massage specialties, including deep tissue massage, Swedish massage, and sports massage. Pre-ski trip massage can help warm the muscles up and ensure they are loose and ready to function their best. Post-ski massage is an essential tool for relieving muscle and joint soreness.

While you’re planning that ski trip with your friends to Park City be sure to book everyone a massage after a day out on the slopes. Your friends—and your tired muscles—will be sure to thank you for it.

Zen Massage in Salt Lake City 

(801) 467-3529

5520 South Van Winkle Expy

Salt Lake City, UT 84117

The Benefits of Prenatal Massage

The Benefits of Prenatal Massage

FOR MOTHER AND BABIES TOGETHER

Both mother and baby

First and foremost, prenatal massage makes you feel good. It nurtures and pampers the body at a time when it needs it most. Book your appointment at Zen Massage in Salt Lake City, UT today. (801) 467-3529

In addition to soothing the body and dissolving stress, a trained touch delivers a wide range of physiological, psychological and emotional benefits.

It’s a safe and relaxing way to relieve pregnancy’s common discomforts like backaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, leg cramps and shakes, headaches, heartburn, fatigue, hemorrhoids, nasal congestion, sciatica and shortness of breath.

Prenatal massage does more than benefit the mother. Everything a pregnant woman does — from her diet and fitness to her relaxation and relative state of contentment – also directly affects the child she is carrying.

Study after study has proven that calmness in the mother leads to healthier in-utero development.

Regular prenatal massage can help prepare you for labor by making the pelvis more supple.

Just like a regular massage, prenatal massage:

  • improves circulation
  • aids lymphatic flow
  • removes toxins
  • promotes relaxation
  • raises endorphin levels
  • eases neck, back, and joint pain
  • relieves muscle spasms and cramps

Book your appointment at Zen Massage in Salt Lake City, UT today. (801) 467-3529

Stealing a Little Time for Yourself, Guilt Free

Making Time for Yourself Can Greatly Improve Your Relationships

Whether you’re single, married, or in a relationship, the demands of life and the expectations of those nearest and dearest to your heart can make finding time for yourself a huge challenge. Between dedicating time to parents, children, partners, siblings, in-laws, nieces, nephews, friends, colleagues, and work, it’s hard to even dream of stealing a little time for yourself.

Couple that with the guilt that many people, especially women, experience when they manage to find a few moments of time for themselves, and it becomes clear why so many people feel that finding time for themselves isn’t worth the effort. But worth the effort it is, and not only because of the personal benefits you’ll reap. Alone time has interpersonal benefits as well.

Personal Benefits of Solitude

Taking time for yourself gives your brain a chance to reboot, improves concentration, increases productivity, helps you discover (or rediscover) your own voice, gives you a chance to think deeply, and helps you problem solve more effectively. It also gives you a better sense of balance and self-awareness that can lead to a better understanding of yourself–what drives you, what inspires you, what excites you. This, in turn, can have a positive effect not only on the quality of your relationship with yourself, but also on the quality of your relationships with others.

But in today’s world, how do you find the time to give to yourself? And equally important, how do you deal with the guilt when you somehow manage to find it?

“Finding” Time

As overscheduled as our lives are these days, it can be quite a challenge to find time for yourself. There are a few things you can do, such as using your lunch hour, waking up a little earlier than everyone else, and temporarily disconnecting from your gadgets. If you’ve tried these tricks and still can’t seem to find any time to schedule for yourself, then you may need to take a hard look at your schedule and your priorities.

What are some things you’re doing now that can be consolidated or eliminated? Is there anything that can be postponed? What can be delegated? Maybe it’s true that you can do things better than everyone else, but in most schedules, there are some things that don’t need to be done better; they just need to be done. By delegating those tasks, you can free up some time for yourself, which may be much more productive in the long run than doing everything yourself.

Another important point to remember is that you don’t have to come up with hours and hours of alone time. Just start off small and see what happens. Hopefully, the little bit of time you steal for yourself will become so reinforcing that you’ll find more and more ways to get more of it.

Overcoming the Guilt

Some people, particularly women, feel guilty about taking time for themselves. They see themselves as the one who should be taking care of everyone else, and their needs often fall by the wayside. However, taking care of yourself is something that you should never feel guilty about. It not only models healthy behavior for the ones you love, but it also keeps you happy, healthy, and strong so that you can continue doing what fulfills you; and if that’s taking care of others, then you’re in an even better position to do that.

Guilt is counterproductive to reaping the full benefits of solitude. If you spend all or even some of your “found” time feeling guilty that you found it, then doesn’t that defeat the purpose?

If you need even more justification to lose the guilt, consider these points:

♦ Spending time with yourself is time well spent because it makes you a happier person to be around.

♦ Spending time with yourself benefits everyone because by having a happier and healthier mindset, you’re in a better frame of mind to take care of the people who are important to you.

♦ Spending time with yourself is preventative medicine to combat burnout. What good will you be to anyone if you eventually burnout? (And you will if you don’t take care of yourself.)

Overcoming Resistance

Once you begin making time for yourself, dont be surprised if you don’t run into a little resistance from those in your life who are used to you always being available. There are many reasons why this resistance might happen–insecurity, overdependence, feeling slighted or rejected, or simply because they have become accustomed to always having you around. Don’t let their resistance stop you. Reassure these people that you’re still there for them, but in order to be there for them over the long haul, you also have to also take care of yourself. Then, do it! Just as they’ve grown accustomed to you always being there for them, they’ll get accustomed to you taking time for yourself.

Hopefully, the ideas here will leave you inspired and motivated to find ways to make time for yourself.

“When we take some time to solely think about ourselves, and not have to consider our impact on others, we begin the process of true self-awareness. It can be a little daunting at first, but the result of this awareness is that you learn what drives you, what excites you, and what motivates you. This new-found self-awareness is a beautiful thing and it can have a dramatically positive effect on your life and relationships.” – Marty Herald’s Personal Growth and the Art of Inspired Living blog.

So give yourself a gift that will keep on giving … time for yourself.

Booking a Massage @ ZenMassage.net is a great way to get your free time in.

Take time for yourself and feel great!

Book your Massage online @ ZenMassage.net

Or call  (801) 467-3529

Zen Massage | Luxury Massage in Salt Lake City, Utah

5520 South Van Winkle Expy

Salt Lake City, UT 84117

 

Source:  Psychology Today

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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