Touch: A Major Key to Wellness
By: Susan Dunn
Touching: Articles on Massage
New research confirms what we already know -- touch heals. It also prevents. Take a look at these important findings."Touching is one of those things that works when words don't, like music," says Nancy Fenn, The Intuition Coach.
Nancy had a client whose college-age son had died, and the first thing she did was recommend the woman get bi-weekly massages. "I knew it would keep her from serious illness, and she wasn't reachable by words then," Nancy told me.
"It's common for someone suffering a tragedy of this magnitude to become physically ill within a year-- seriously ill, like cancer, or a heart attack. It's been 4 years now for this woman, and she's not gotten ill.
Nancy is an iNfp, a rare 1% of the population called The Healer. She knows what science is confirming in spades now, that touching is a vital part of wellness.
POWERFUL IMMUNIZING AGENT
Did you know that touching can make your immune system stronger? In her book, "Immunology of the Soul," Ursula Anderson, M.D., states that loving touch is our most powerful immunizing agent, and developmental neurobiology research supports this view.
The quality of touch in the early years of life establishes the fundamental pattern of brain chemistry and its neurotransmitter messenger system that responds to external stimuli.
"Recent research," she says, "has found with loving touch in infancy, the neurochemical response system is set to perceive and receive lovingly and, in the absence of obvious danger, without fear. When loving touch has been absent or insufficient, the neurochemical response system is set to perceive and receive with caution and suspicion. It therefore perceives danger more often than it actually exists, which calls forth increasingly negative and dysfunctional behavioural responses."
The Touch Research Institutes (TRI), a division of the University of Miami Medical School, is dedicated to studying the effects of touch therapy. They've found massage therapy affects us positively from birth to old age. It:
Facilitates weight gain in preterm infants Reduces stress hormones Alleviates depressive symptoms Reduces pain Improves immune function Alters EEG in the direction of heightened awareness (that's alertness and performance)
TOUCH THERAPY HELPS EVERYONE
Bulimic adolescent girls who received massage therapy gained improved body image, decreased depression and anxiety symptoms, decreased cortisol ('stress' hormone) levels and increases dopamine and serotonin ('feel good' hormones) levels. [Field et al, "Adolescence," 131 , 555-563] Preschool children with behavior problems who received massages showed more on-task behavior, less solitary play, and less aggression. [Escalona et al, "Early Child Development and Care"] Adolescents with AIDS -- Massages increased their natural killer cells, CD4 cells and CD4 /CD8 ratio [Diego et al, International Journal of Neuroscience, 106, 35-45.]
Most of these results appeared in just one month of therapy.
BETTER TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE
Elderly retired volunteers either gave massages to infants, or received massages themselves. Those who gave massages
Reported less anxiety and fewer depressive symptoms and an improved mood Their pulse decreased Their cortisol levels decreased They reported improved self-esteem and a better lifestyle Less doctor visits, more socializing
All seniors involved had positive affects, but the seniors who gave the massages improved the most. [Field et al, "Journal of Applied Gerontology," 17, 229-239]
Subjects suffering from job stress were given massages for 5 weeks with these results:
(1) Decreased frontal EEG alpha and beta waves consistent with enhanced alertness;(2) Math problems were completed in less time with fewer errors; and (3) Anxiety was lower(4) Cortisol (stress hormone) was lower(5) Job stress levels were lower [Field et al, "International Journal of Neuroscience"]
Research has confirmed what we intuitively know -- the more touches you give and receive, the better you feel. So, reach out and touch someone, and consider getting massages from professionals, or touch therapy, during particular stressful times in your life.
The results are in, and it's one of those win-win situations. Now if we could just get our insurance companies to pay for weekly massages ... yum.
About the Author
Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach, GLOBAL EQ. Emotional intelligence coaching to enhance all areas of your life - career, relationships, midlife transition, resilience, self-esteem, parenting. EQ Alive! - excellent, accelerated, affordable EQ coach certification. Susan is the author of numerous ebooks, is widely published on the Internet, and a regular speaker for cruise lines. For marketing services go here.
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