3 Touching Tips To Get Well!
Whether it’s a squeeze of the hand, a big bear hug, a kneading massage, even a bedroom romp, touch is shaping-up to be the ultimate mind-body medicine, especially during life transitions. From lowering blood pressure and heart rate to increasing immune function and relieving pain, getting touched or doing some touching makes you healthier – not to mention happier and less anxious. How do you tap into these body-boosting benefits?
Get A Rubdown – Anyone who’s ever gotten a massage (even a quickie at a mall kiosk) knows that it helps you unwind. That’s not just a mental sensation: Getting massaged causes muscles to unclench, a racing heart rate to slow, heightened blood pressure to fall, and levels of the stress hormone cortisol to drop. In that relaxed state, your body is able to regroup and recharge. One happy result is a more robust immune system. Cortisol suppresses the immune response. Anything that increases the relaxation response triggers the restoration of your immune response. Recently, researchers measured immune function in healthy adults who got either a 45-minute Swedish massage or 45 minutes of lighter touch. The massaged group had substantially more white blood cells – including natural killer cells, which help the body fight viruses and other pathogens – and fewer types of inflammatory cytokines associated with autoimmune diseases. Take a break during life transitions and get a regular massage.
Hug It Out – The act of embracing floods our bodies with oxytocin, a “bonding hormone” that makes people feel secure and trusting toward each other, lowers cortisol levels, and reduces stress. Women who get more hugs from their partners have higher levels of oxytocin and lower blood pressure and heart rates, according to recent research. A hug from anyone you’re close to works, too. Researchers tested that when they analyzed stress levels among volunteers giving a presentation. Afterward, participants who got hugs from their moms saw decreases in cortisol levels an hour after the presentation.
Hold Hands With Your Special One – Twining your fingers together with your one-and-only is enormously calming. This was discovered when functional MRIs were given to 16 married women while telling them they might experience a mild shock. The resulting anxiety caused the images of their brain activity to light up like Christmas trees. But when the women held hands with one of the experimenters, that stress response subsided – and when they held hands with their husbands, it really quieted them down. A little old-fashioned hand-holding is a great calmer during life transitions.
Touching has a key calming effect in women but especially during life transitions like a new career search.