Pleasant Touch Massage 19515 E Burnside St. Gresham Oregon 97233

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The Power of touch

August 11, 2016

 

According to Texas psychology professor David R. Cross, PhD, ... the ill effects of non-touching

are simply not that obvious and don't receive much attention. While there is scientific research

showing non-touch is detrimental to health, none of these effects grab headlines, sound alarms,

or elicit urgent concern. The effects are more insidious and long-term and don't amount to a

dramatic story for prime time. "Humans deprived of touch are prone to mental illness, violence,

compromised immune systems, and poor self-regulation," Cross says. So serious are the effects

of touch deprivation, it's considered by researchers to be worse than physical abuse.

 

Benefits of Touch

 

Stated more positively, science does support the preventive health benefits of touch. For

example, infant massage has gained popularity as studies have shown pre-term babies receiving

massage gain more weight and are healthier than non-massaged preemies. Experiments with

baby monkeys showed they preferred mother surrogates, like terry cloth dummies, to food.

 

Tiffany Field, PhD, founder of the Touch Research Institute, notes that in a study on pre-term

infants, massaging the babies increased their weight and allowed them to be discharged earlier.

Discharging babies earlier from expensive neonatal intensive care units could save the

healthcare system $4.7 billion annually.

 

In other research, scientists at the University of North Carolina found the stress hormone, cortisol,

was reduced with hugging. Cortisol is associated with anger, anxiety, physical tension, and

weakened immunity. They also discovered hugging led to positive physiological and emotional

changes in the body, noting that a mere 20 seconds of hugging boosted levels of the hormone

oxytocin, which improved heart function.

 

Touch Quotient

Massage therapy has been found useful in reducing symptoms such as anxiety, depression, pain,

and stress in conjunction with various illnesses and treatments, including anorexia nervosa,

arthritis, cancer, fibromyalgia, muscular pain and stiffness, strokes, and postsurgery care.

 

While more research is needed, massage therapy has also been shown to reduce symptoms

associated with alcohol withdrawal and smoking cessation, and can improve self-esteem, boost

the immune system, increase flexibility, and improve sleep.

 

You might think with all the problems in our expensive, symptom-driven American healthcare

system, we'd take every opportunity to afford ourselves health-promoting activities that are far

more pleasant than sweating it out at the gym. Yet, we are still finding our way in terms of

increasing our touch quotient.

 

Perhaps one of the fathers of the modern massage movement, the late Robert Noah Calvert, said

it best: "The application of caring human touch is an inherently innate behavior for giving and

receiving love, which all humankind wants and needs. The real purpose of giving massage is to

foster more depth of feeling for one another in order to bring out the love that often lies buried

beneath the pain of everyday suffering."

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