The Importance of Touch
Timeless Health Tip
A group of 185 adults with spouses were told either to hold hand while viewing a pleasant ten-minute video and then hug for 20 seconds, or to rest quietly without their partners.
Next, all participants recounted a recent event that made them angry or stressed.
When researchers compared the stress responses between the two groups afterward, the participants who had had physical contact with a partner fared much better.
While systolic (upper) heart rate jumped 24 points in the no-contact group, the contact group's reading was less than half of that. The no-contact group also had greater increases in heart rate - ten beats per minute, compared to the five beats per minute for the contact group.
Hugs ( ( ) )
Researchers recently exposed willing participants to a common cold virus. Those who received daily hugs were far less likely to develop symptoms than those who were seldom given a hug. The companionship and touch of a hug lower stress levels, which in turn protects against colds. Study source: Psychological Science, 2015.
Ease a Backache with a Massaging Touch
Massage was among the top rated pain relievers - as effective as powerful narcotics. Hands-on therapy activates the body's parasympathetic nervous system to relax muscles and increase the levels of brain chemicals, like dopamine and serotonin, that help control pain. Source: Consumer Reports on Health
Touch seems to lower the stress hormone cortisol, which in turn increases levels of serotonin and dopamine.