Although the power of touch is not completely understood, massage can affect the nervous system and the circulatory-lymphatic systems to produce positive results. It also fills an emotional need to be touched because after all, the largest organ of our body is our skin and it’s most active function is to feel.
In the past, massage has been thought of as an item of luxury or a treatment only found at upscale health clubs but today, massage therapy is being recognized and offered in medical clinics and hospitals in many communities. It is becoming an increasingly prevalent treatment option to address a range of concerns including mental health, general wellbeing, and happiness.
There are wide-ranging physical and emotion benefits for people in all age groups:
Touch is the earliest form of communication and can help establish critical bonds between parent and child. According to studies conducted by the University of Miami’s Touch Research Institute, newborns that are touched gain weight faster and develop superior mental and motor skills.
Adolescents are oftentimes hindered by societal inhibitions when it comes to touch. Since touch is sometimes equated with sexuality, teenagers can find it difficult to find a socially acceptable middle ground with hugs, handshakes, or other forms of tactile communication. Massage therapy can address the human need of touch through these awkward years to develop a healthy sense of self and the ability to interact with others.
Senior citizens are the age group that receives the least amount of touch in our society. Massage is a great way to promote physical interaction with this age group that is in dire need of affection and connection. Touch can help promote feelings of happiness and connectedness.
Although the positive mental, physical, and spiritual benefits of touch and massage therapy cannot fully be explained by science, massage is shedding its alternative, fringe medicine reputation and is beginning to become regarded as a valuable component of medical practice and treatment plans for a variety of ailments.