I’ve been thinking a lot about the role of touch lately. And specifically about the role of touch for an adults well being. There is lots of research on the importance of touch for developing children, as there should be, and a little more about how touch helps the elderly but scant scientific research into what it means for us adults and why we crave it.
It pretty much comes down to brain chemicals and hormones, those little molecules that make the world go around. In particular the two opposites of cortisol and oxytocin. Cortisol is the stress hormone, you want to measure someones stress levels? Test their saliva for cortisol levels. Oxytocin is sometimes called the cuddle chemical, think of orgasm afterglow, mothers love for their children, hugging your dog. Oxytocin is released when we feel safe and is linked with a decrease in cortisol. Massages, sex, even holding your lovers hand can all help get oxytocin up and cortisol down. Not only will this make us feel more relaxed, happier and less anxious it could lower your blood pressure, lower your heart rate, increase immune function and relieve pain. All good things in my book!
For me even watching a gentle massage makes me chilled, this one of a relaxing tantra massage is a classic that I have on my favorites list (and in typical fashion its been deemed to be restricted so it may be NSFW although its two fully clothed ladies). It’s part 1, you should see links to part 2 and 3 there as well.