Treat yourself to more touching through massage. It may seem like a luxury, but it doesn't have to be. If you were to add up the cost of eating dinner out once a week for a month, you'd have plenty of money to get a massage, body scrub, and/or facial and enjoy all the amenities offered at most spas. The healing power of touch is grossly underestimated in our society, yet it's one of the most effective tools for emotional care.
Massage not only benefits the muscles and tissues being kneaded and stretched but also has been found to lower stress levels significantly. It's been shown to increase weight gain in premature infants, alleviate depression, reduce pain in cancer patients, improve sleep patterns, and positively alter the immune system. Research from the renowned Touch Research Institute shows that it's as beneficial to touch as it is to be touched. And, more recently, researchers at the University of North Carolina, alongside scientists in Europe, are unraveling how the body responds to pleasurable touch. They have identified a class of nerve fibers in the skin that specifically send pleasure messages. Called the C-tactile nerve fibers, they send feel-good messages to the brain upon stimulation through pleasurable touch.
Healing touch therapy can take many forms, not just classic massage. Experiment with what your local spa has to offer. Bring this concept to home and into the bedroom with your partner, too. In between the more elaborate spa visits, schedule brief, inexpensive manicures, pedicures, or simply exchange five minutes of chair massage with your best friend at work. Studies have shown that these can dramatically reduce job stress while increasing productivity and alertness.