One of my colleagues sent me an article about the importance of touch for human beings. On February 22, 2010, New York Times Health section published an article, "Evidence That Little Touches Do Mean So Much", by Benedict Carey.
The article discusses how touch can be a very powerful and positive non-verbal way to communication with others, giving an example of how positive touch is correlated to outstanding performance or high achievement in different arenas like school and sports. There was also a small section that talked about how hormones are affected by touch.
The article touched on two hormones cortisol and--you guessed, it our friend oxytocin. The stress hormone, cortisol, is reduced causing relaxation and oxytocin creates a sense of trust. Touch affects the brain in the prefrontal area by helping to regulate emotion and relaxation. This allows the brain to focus on other purposes.
I found another study that focused on how touch reduces cortisol, thus reducing stress. There was a small study published in the Journal Psychosomatic Medicine in October 2008, "Positive Couple Interactions and Daily Cortisol: On the Stress-Protecting Role of Intimacy". It found that supportive non-sexual touch lowered stress hormones and blood pressure. In the study, experimental couples were asked to touch or massage for 30 minutes, 3 times per week. Results concluded reductions in blood pressure and cortisol levels.
I really like these articles because they show how powerful touch can be as a healing tool. It is a part of treatment plans that people tend to underestimate but, are as powerful or more powerful than supplements or exercise.
Positive touch can affect the brain chemistry and the hormones that our body release. In fact in my next blog I will share a list of health benefits for women from touch. The list is taken from the book that I shared with you a few blogs ago, "The Brain in Love 12 Lessons to Enhance Your Love Life" by Daniel, Amen, MD.
I look forward to sharing my new discoveries with you.
Dr. Dae's website: www.healthydaes.com
Dr. Dae's book: Daelicious!