Health & Wellness Articles

The Healing Power of Touch

How Physical Contact Improves Your Health

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Looking for your daily oxytocin boost?  Try the tips below:

  • Cuddle. You don't have to talk or gaze deeply into someone's eyes, but you can cuddle with your partner, child or pet.
  • Hug hello (and goodbye for that matter). Greet friends and family with a quick embrace to maximize touch in your day.
  • Find Fido. Touch doesn't have to be person to person. Use your down time to groom or pet your dog or let your cat nap in your lap as you make phone calls.
  • Jump in bed. Having more sex will increase your touch time, and time spent between the sheets can positively impact your relationship, too.  
  • Schedule a massage. Penciling in a session with a trusted therapist will leave you relaxed and refreshed.
  • Try a solo massage. Using lotion or massage oil, relieve neck, arm, leg and scalp tension using the tips of your fingers to massage in a circular motion. Self-massage tools, such as canes (to massage your back) or kneading tools can help with hard-to-reach spots or tough knots.
  • Get classy. Yoga and Pilates classes offer hands-on adjustments from qualified instructors that can help strengthen your core and provide a dose of touch.
  • Hold hands. Don't wait for someone to initiate it—go for it yourself! This simple gesture can bring the spark back to a long-time relationship, add some sizzle to a new one, and even show someone special (your child, parent, grandparent, sibling or best friend) that you care.
  • Get a pedicure. Snag a snazzy new nail color and a serving of healthy touch.
  • Pat someone on the back. Congratulate friends and co-workers on their accomplishments with a celebratory pat on the back.

From reducing blood pressure to flooding us with positive emotions, touch is an easy add-in to your day that can have powerful health benefits. With a little thought, you'll find countless ways to touch the lives of others through this meaningful form of connection.
 
Sources
National Institutes of Health. "The Power of Love," accessed April 4, 2013. newsinhealth.nih.gov

National Institutes of Health. "Massage Therapy," accessed on April 4, 2013. newsinhealth.nih.gov

University of Virginia. "High-quality marriages help to calm nerves," accessed on April 4, 2013. www.eurekalert.org

Baker, Kathy. "Study shows frequent massage sessions boost biological benefits," accessed on April 4, 2013. news.emory.edu

Keltner, Dacher. "Hands on Research: The Science of Touch," accessed on April 4, 2013. greatergood.berkeley.edu

National Institutes of Health. "Massage Therapy," accessed on April 4, 2013. nccam.nih.gov
 
Weerapong P, Hume PA, Kolt GS. "The mechanisms of massage and effects on performance, muscle recovery and injury prevention," accessed on April 4, 2013. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Uvnas-Moberg K, Petersson M. "Oxytocin, a mediator of anti-stress, well-being, social interaction, growth and healing ," accessed on April 4, 2013. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Field, Tiffany. "Touch for socioemotional and physical well-being: A review," accessed on April 4, 2013. www.sciencedirect.com

 

 
 

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About The Author

Robin Donovan Robin Donovan
Robin Donovan is a Cincinnati-based freelance writer and magazine journalist with experience covering health, medicine, science, business, technology and design.

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