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  • The Power of Touch

    We all know it feels good, but there is an increasing amount of scientific evidence backing the beneficial effects of touch therapy. Whether it is massage, targeted therapy or simply holding hands, supportive touch is perhaps the only truly universal method of delivering positive effects to our bodies. But how does this work?

    If we begin on the outside- with our largest organ – we can begin to understand how a friendly touch can yield such positive feelings. The skin is a highly complex, multi-functional organ that is laden with receptors that send messages all over our body and directly to our brain. These receptors receive messages about pressure, temperature, friction, pain, even the slightest tickle. These messages are then relayed through bundles of nerves to our brain. The brain releases more chemicals into our bloodstream that result in the warm, friendly and soothing feelings. In particular, research has shown that touch has the power of reducing the stress hormone known as cortisol. In an age where we are constantly stressing out over traffic, family, economy and personal matters, it is no surprise that cortisol levels may be at an all time high. Although an important hormone for certain activities, it is just as important to reduce these cortisol levels. In addition to reducing stress, the power of touch also floods our bodies with the ‘feel-good’ hormone, oxytocin. Oxytocin is a neuropeptide that promotes feelings of trust, bonding and love. Therapeutic massage has been shown to increase oxytocin levels in both children and adults. In the brain, this is compounded with more messages that stimulate a reward pathway, resulting in a biological foundation for human connection via the act of touch.

    So whether you are touching sweethearts or singles this Valentine’s day, remember that the powerful and rewarding human touch can go beyond skin deep. Need a refresher on your technique? Advanced Face Massage may be just what you need to reinvigorate your power of touch!

    4 Comments

    • Sarah Says:

      Ahhhhhh there’s nothing like a good hug! :-)

      February 24, 2012 at 7:07 pm
    • Francesca Says:

      Looking forward to the advanced facial massage class and just got a job at Massage Envy.

      March 5, 2012 at 6:49 pm
    • Cathye Solliday Says:

      I thoroughly enjoyed your talk at IDI Irvine last month. I do believe that touch is important and there is a huge connection between the brain and skin. This was why I went into skin care, I was in a marriage where there was barely any physical contact, ie: hugs or just a loving touch. Along with my intense interest in the field of skin care was my desire to connect with people on a deeper level. I felt that if I am feeling a void then certainly there are others that need that caring, kind touch as well. I cannot begin to tell you what this has done for me, as well as for my clients.

      April 12, 2012 at 2:48 am
    • Dr. Claudia Aguirre Says:

      Dear Cathye
      Thanks for your great comments. Stay tuned for a future article I’ll write on the the connection between the brain and skin in massage!

      May 2, 2012 at 11:26 pm

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