Massage also provides another therapeutic component largely absent in today’s world, touch. In 1986, the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami published groundbreaking research on the effects of massage on premature babies. The preterm babies who received massage therapy showed 47% greater weight gain and six-day shorter hospital stays than the infants who were not receiving massage. But is this study evidence of what loving touch can do spiritually, or rather what massage can do on a physiological level? Regardless, babies are not the only people benefiting from massage.
Many adults have reported cathartic experiences on the massage table. As a therapist carefully unwinds a client’s stressed and tired muscles, the therapist may very well be unwinding the taut, pent-up emotions that one does not always have time to process in the middle of the day. The feeling of being touched in a safe, caring, compassionate manner can be a very powerful experience, reminding the client that she or he is not alone in the world.
As studies continue to reveal the link between kinesiology and physical and emotional health, the effects of massage will be further documented. However, one need only experience a good massage to know it is beneficial to the body and soul.