I knew that the benefits of chair massage on the mind and body are huge, but whilst researching the power of touch for a presentation I am doing next week, I came across a curious hormone that has probably been under the radar for many.
We all know about endorphins, and how it is the “pleasure” hormone.
It is produced when we are in pain, when we exercise, when we eat chocolate and we can say it really does make us feel great.
Well, there is another cheeky little hormone called oxytocin and it too gives us that “feel good” Friday feeling. It is produced in abundance when a woman is in labour to help her in that process and is also produced when lactating to develop the bond between herself and her child.
Scientists have recently found that oxytocin helps in managing stress, it helps to improve trust in relationships and would you believe it, can be used as a tool to improve our sex drives.
So before you leave this page, to Google oxytocin – to find out how to get hold of it, please do read on.
Research has shown that by simply touching another person, it begins to increase levels of oxytocin and this is another reason why chair massage benefits those at work.
Work at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences suggests that oxytocin can induce anti-stress-like effects, including reduction in blood pressure and levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
“It increases pain thresholds, stimulates various types of positive social interaction and promotes growth and healing. Oxytocin can be released by various types of non-noxious sensory stimulation, for example by touch and warmth,” they say.
Recent studies from England pinpointed an area in the brain that becomes highly activated in response to friendly touch. It’s a region called the orbital frontal cortex located just above your eyes. Interestingly, it’s the same area that responds to sweet tastes and pleasing smells.
“A soft touch on the arm makes the orbital frontal cortex light up” Matt Hertenstein, an experimental psychologist at DePauw University in Indiana says. “So, touch is a very powerful rewarding stimulus — just like the chocolate that you find in your cupboard at home.”
The surging of oxytocin makes you feel more trusting and connected. And the cascade of electrical impulses slows your heart and lowers your blood pressure, making you feel less stressed and more soothed.
I don’t know about you but I find it truly remarkable that this complex surge of events are all initiated by a simple and supportive touch.
So next time you touch someone, be aware that you are creating a better bond with them, particularly powerful when massaging an elderly person.
Significantly, their perception of you will change according to the touch and that if it is a caring touch, their stress levels, blood pressure will drop and they will undoubtedly feel better.