Tuesday 3 March 2015

Touch this! The healing power of touch

Posted by at 10:04 AM in

Touch this! The healing power of touch

Touch givers, such as massage therapist or estheticians, are aware of the countless benefits of touch. For some of these professionals it may have even served as a catalyst for choosing the profession. They can also appreciate the deep impact that touch can have, like releasing a physical knot that was also mental or vice versa, resulting in emotional release for a client as they let go of the anxiety, sadness, anger or pain.

In recent years, the science at last has started to catch up and a wave of evidence based studies has started to surface about the physical and physiological effects of touch and massage. Thanks to organizations like the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami, we know that touch boosts growth in preterm newborns, calms the “stress beast” cortisol while increasing other feel good, pain relieving, love potion hormones like endorphins and oxytocin. It helps regulate key neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine helping us to not only sleep better, crave less but also feel more enthusiastic and joyful.

The skin, as we know, is a sensory organ and is laden with nerve receptors. These receptors receive messages about pressure, temperature, pain and are incredibly sensitive. When a receptor is stimulated, it sends a signal along the nerve cells directly to the brain. The brain then co-ordinates the response, like the contraction of a muscle or a gland releasing a hormone into the bloodstream.  Interestingly, the deeper “pressure” receptors in the skin called the Pacinian corpuscles’ send a signal directly to an important nerve bundle deep in the brain called the Vagus nerve. The Vagus links directly to the heart and it’s this nerve that then slows the heart down and decreases blood pressure.

At Leissa’s we are fortunate to have DeAnne, our wonderful massage therapist. She offers a variety of massages costumized to your needs and areas of concern. From the traditional Swedish Massage to Ashiatsu (or barefoot) massage, take the time to take care of you.