Touch is the first sense to develop in humans. So, it is no surprise that when we are in pain, the first thing we do is touch, hold, and protect the area that hurts. It’s instinctive. We do this not only for ourselves but for other people. It is an entirely natural and accessible form of social support that can be employed by anyone anywhere. It can communicate love, value, care, and affection that provides a much-needed sense of connectedness with your fellow humans.
Experiencing positive and affirming touch is necessary for proper human development. It can help parent and child bond after childbirth. Skin-to-skin contact after delivery supports a physical and psychological connection between the newborn and the caregiver. In fact, infants deprived of touch often have a shorter lifespan than their counterparts. The lack of skin-to-skin contact at this early stage in development can slow their growth and interrupt neurochemical messages.
Our skin is in constant communication with our brain. It is one giant communication system. To give you an idea of how massively important it is regarding communicating information via the nervous system, a section of skin about the size of a quarter contains 12 feet of nerves, millions of cells, and 50 nerve endings. It is the gateway to how our brain perceives touch. Even if someone has mostly experienced negative touch throughout their lives, it is possible to retrain the brain to perceive touch as a positive and safe experience. Massage therapy can help with this.
Here are some ways massage therapy is beneficial:
- Massage has a sedative effect, which helps with insomnia.
- It can release positive hormones like oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine. These hormones help to combat depression.
- Massage therapy has been found to decrease anxiety after heart surgery.
- According to the American Massage Therapy Association, “Nurturing touch and regular sensory integration appear to reduce the social, communication, behavioral, learning, thinking and problem solving-challenges associated with [autism spectrum disorders] ASD. In particular, craniosacral therapy and deep pressure massage are receiving attention as a possible means to help manage ASD behavioral patterns” (Shryer 2017).
- Massage therapy also promotes circulation to injured parts of the body. This brings nutrients and blood to the area which helps to speed the healing process.
- Oncology centers throughout the United States use massage therapy with cancer patients to help with the side effects of chemotherapy.
As you can see, massage therapy has medicinal effects. Giving the gift of massage therapy is a great way to share its many benefits with your loved one.
Yours in Health,
Are looking for someone with massage therapy expertise, who also knows the ins and outs of therapeutic massage? look no further! I’m Ellie Dukes, Licensed Massage Therapist-specializing in prenatal and oncology massage therapy for 12 years. Visit me at Trinity Massage Haven in Blue Bell PA. Gift cards are available.
To Schedule your appointment today call 267-584-3015 or schedule online massagebluebell.com
Resources: Shryer, D. (2017). Breaking through: Autism + massage. Retrieved from https://www.amtamassage.org/articles/3/MTJ/detail/3642/breaking-through-massage-autism