Touch is essential for life. Of the five senses, touch is the only sense that humans cannot live without. The skin is the largest organ of the body, and touch is human’s natural way of reacting to pain and stress and conveying love and compassion. Studies have found that babies and children in orphanages die from lack of touch, not lack of nourishment.
Every disease or health issue can benefit from some form of massage or bodywork. Massage is beneficial to everyone; from preterm infants to end of life care. Massage can help colicky babies as well as the elderly suffering from dementia. Nursing homes routinely offer massage as part of their program to relax and comfort their residents. Many hospices also provide massage as a way to lessen the effects of end-of-life issues, including helping their patients to sleep through the night and relieve pain. Massage cannot cure disease; however, massage can lessen the effects disease has on the body and may lessen the amount of medication required to treat the disease.
Massage can help many diseases affecting children, from autism to sleep disorders. Children receiving safe touch throughout childhood grow up to be more responsible, caring adults. Holding and massaging preterm infants decreases side effects from early birth and increases survival rates. Touch in early infancy also helps the bounding process between infant and parent.
On the physical level, human touch has the ability to lower blood pressure and reduce stress and tension. This is because a soothing touch can trigger the increase of oxytocin levels in the body, which gives a calming effect. When there is pain, a comforting human touch can alleviate the feeling and act as a numbing agent.
When it comes to emotional benefits, human touch like a comforting hand squeeze, a gentle tap on the back, or a reassuring hug can help intensely in stress management by calming and easing a person’s nerves. It is no wonder people feel good about themselves when they give or receive a hug. It is a sign that someone cares for them. Some studies have shown that people who receive sufficient physical affection (such as massage) are less prone to depression and unhealthy habits such as drinking and smoking
In the work setting, chair massage increases immunity, decreases stress, lessens work-related injury and increases worker productivity. Many companies incorporate massage into their wellness packages, either providing space and time during the workday for employees to receive massage or providing massage as part of their staff appreciation days. Regular massage can also produce more productive, satisfied workers.
Massage, like chiropractic care, is continuous for proper maintenance. Each session builds upon the previous. While one massage may feel good; to get the full benefits, massage needs to be weekly at the least. The new trend in massage is monthly membership clubs or punch cards, where discounts are available for multiple sessions. This makes regular massage more affordable.
Make regular massage a part of your life; the benefits are endless. It will help lessen the affects of disease and aging as well as just make you feel good. Treat massage as though your life depends on it; it does.
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