Humans love to be touched. It is an undeniable fact, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a full on squishy bear hug or a massage, touch is one of the most important things you can give to your body.
The skin on skin contact from a hug, massage or even a session in the bedroom can be a potent way to support your health, from lowering your blood pressure and heart rate to boosting your immune system and giving you pain relief. As we all know, it also helps us to feel less stressed and anxious.
Babies and skin to skin contact
From a very early age, babies crave being held and touched. Studies have shown that without skin on skin contact as a baby, our immune systems can suffer. Babies who haven’t experienced enough cuddles, touch and general affection can often be susceptible to illness. It’s thought that the lack of being nurtured leaves babies feeling stressed and vulnerable, the high levels of stress hormones can actually have an adverse effect on their developing immune system.
Adults need to be touched too...
It’s a sad fact of life that some of us can go many days without direct skin on skin contact – even if we’re in a relationship, we can sometimes be too busy or working odd hours and neglect this basic need.
It’s so important to get our fix of being touched, though. Anyone who has regular massages can tell you that if you’re feeling stressed and antsy a massage will soon calm you down. Sometimes it’s all you need, and the relaxation effect is a physical reaction to the contact you get from your massage therapist.
Being massaged helps your muscles unclench if you’re all scrunched up. If your blood pressure is high, it can actually drop after a massage and cortisol levels (a stress hormone) will drop. Because you’re feeling lovely and relaxed, your body has the breathing space to start recharging your batteries so that you’ll feel much better afterwards.
Recent research backs this up; the immune function of healthy adults who got either a 45-minute Swedish massage or 45 minutes of lighter touch were measured and the group who enjoyed a massage were found to have significantly higher numbers of white blood cells - including the cells which help the body fight viruses.
So can a massage stop you catching a cold? The scientists stopped short of saying so but it does seem that regular skin to skin contact through massage could play a part in keeping your immune system healthy and fighting off bugs.
So, the evidence is mounting up that a massage helps you feel good, improved your wellbeing and boosts your immune system. Why not book one today?