Touch has been a key component of loving relationships and traditional healing modalities for eons. Today, it is increasingly being studied in mainstream medicine to confirm its therapeutic properties.
Some experiments involving touch show symptom benefits in a number of areas, including asthma, high blood pressure, migraine headaches and childhood diabetes. Other studies indicate touch lowers stress levels and boosts the immune system. One of the most common findings in the research is that touch lowers heart rate and blood pressure. We know this intuitively—we experience a release and letting go when we receive a good nourishing hug.
Friendly touch (e.g. hand holding, hugging, etc.) decreases cortisol (the stress hormone) and increases the release of oxytocin, the hormone connected with love and human connection. Oxytocin release contributes to every day well being, our ability to handle stress, and can lead to feelings of devotion, trust and bonding.
Additionally, multiple studies have found massage therapy helps reduce pain and soreness, as well as speeds recovery from injury or surgery.
When we bring mindfulness and intentionality to touch, the comforts are increased both for the giver and receiver (even if they are one and the same).