Touch is a basic human need. Along with food, shelter and water, touch provides a connection with the human spirit that is missing more and more in today’s Internet age.
Researchers have shown that touch actually releases endorphins in our brain that can:
- Reduce stress
- Boost the immune system
- Lessen fatigue
- Ease pain
- Improve depression
- Decrease anxiety
- Slow the heart rate
- Decrease blood pressure
According to Dr. Andrew Weil, America’s most well known Integrative Medicine Doctor, “touch is a basic requirement for optimum health.”
Touch is critically important in all stages of human life.
There is evidence that babies that have been deprived of touch suffer developmental problems. Some experts have linked touch deprivation to compulsive behaviors, increased aggression and higher death rates.
At the other spectrum of life, older patients suffering from dementia can also benefit from touch therapy, according to the Caregiver’s Home Companion. It is widely thought that some of their symptoms can actually subside, at least temporarily, through the gift of touch.
Unfortunately, not everyone has easy access to touch. People who are not in a relationship or who have few close family members may be touch deprived.
For these people and others, massage is an excellent alternative.
There are many types of massage available. Swedish massage uses long, gliding strokes. Deep tissue massage goes into the connective tissue for a deeper, more vigorous massage. There are other specialized massage techniques such as Hot Stone Massage and Pregnancy Massage. And Couples massage is increasing in popularity because two partners in the same room benefit from the gift of massage by two therapists.
If you’re feeling the winter blues, or just want to benefit from the healing aspects of touch, treat yourself to a massage, or have your partner give you one. You’ll feel better, be more alert, and generally have an improved sense of wellness.