The power of touch is nothing new, though the recent talk about it would lead you to think otherwise. The power of touch has been used since ancient times for healing and continues to be a staple in Eastern medicine to help treat everything from stress and pain to disease. As the benefits of the human touch become more apparent, it is becoming increasingly popular in the western part of the world as well.
Massage is one example of how the power of touch has been used for centuries to treat people’s health. While technique certainly plays a role in the power of massage, it is the benefit of the skin-to-skin human contact that is believed to play the biggest role in its impact on health. Reiki for instance, is a Japanese touch therapy in which hands are placed on the body to channel healing energy. This is now being used by many people around the world because of its positive effects on the immune system as well as mental health.
Baby massage is another example of the power of touch and how it can impact our health. Parents are now encouraged by hospital staff to spend some time each day massaging their baby because of the bond that it helps to create between parent and child as well as the ability it has to improve the baby’s health. Research done by the Touch Research Institute has found that infant massage helps a child to be more alert and responsive as well as sleep better. Infants who are massaged regularly are also more active. And, infant massage has also been shown to improve brain function and circulation and also strengthen the gastrointestinal system and respiratory tract function. And, some very impressive results show that close to half of premature babies who are massaged gain weight faster and most are able to leave the hospital an average of almost a week earlier than those who are not massaged.
A Little Lovin’
It isn’t only massage that helps one heal thanks to the power of touch. Other research conducted at the Touch Research Institute found that even just sitting close to someone benefits your health. One example of this is a study that found spending 10 minutes sitting close to your partner lowered blood pressure rates in postmenopausal women and that hugs from anyone helped to lower heart rates. There other studies also found an improvement in migraines, sleep, and even asthma thanks to touch. And, it’s also been noted that pro athletes on a team who pat each other on the back or share a “high five” do better in their team sports than those who don’t touch.
So get out there and give someone a hug and enjoy a the power of touch!
The Health Local Staff is a team of writers and experts dedicated to bringing you the latest health, nutrition and lifestyle information at www.healthlocal.ca.