Massage is a hands on manipulation of muscle and connective tissue to increase circulation, relax muscle tension, decrease pain, prevent injury and facilitate post injury recovery. Most people know it’s a great technique to help with overall physical pain and it also feels really good!
However, massage is also an effective method to connect with another person in an intimate, yet platonic way. Touch is the first sense we develop as humans. It’s proven to be a more sophisticated, nuanced and precise method to communicate emotions, particularly positive emotions such as joy, love, gratitude and sympathy. Research shows that touch clearly stimulates the release of the “cuddle hormone” oxytocin, which enhances our sense of trust and attachment.
This means that massage helps us cope with many emotional problems resulting from recent breakups, death of a spouse, loneliness, feelings of mistrust or betrayal and discomfort with physical contact. We feel more secure and safe with people who touch us, resulting in better sleep, reduced irritability and increased sociability. Massage creates an overall improvement in openness without vulnerability.