You may think that healing pain and stress only can be helped through medication or therapy. Yet, there is another option that we don’t often give enough credit to–that is the effect of touch on the body and mind to make us feel better. Healing pain and stress through touch has substantial research to back it up on the physical and mental benefits how that warm contact with the skin works with the brain.
The Science of How Healing Pain and Stress Through Touch Works
Have you ever wondered why comforting hugs when you’re upset seem to help you feel better? Touch is essential when under stress or in a fearful situation. The reason touch has such an impact to soothe is because of how it triggers sensory receptors in the brain to respond. Once that signal is received, the brain sends out messages to the nerves. Soon after blood pressure goes down and the heart stops racing, you are left feeling more relaxed.
Sympathizing with another’s pain through touch can be uplifting. Offering a comforting hand on the shoulder to holding a hand when someone is suffering, worried or ill can work like medicine as that silent signal gets tapped by the brain.
Petting our dogs and cats can be thought of in the same way when feeling anxious as well. The simple action of touching with some gentle, repetitive strokes against the fur can increase our levels of the love hormone, oxytocin from that human/animal bonding.
Healing pain and stress through touch can also come about from contact with certain soft materials to objects that hold special memories. You saved a lock of your baby’s hair as a precious keepsake. Touch that treasured hair stimulates the brain’s cortex to return to that happy time, leaving you with a safe, cozy feeling that you want to snuggle against.
Temperature of what you touch also has an effect on the brain. A good example is touching a cup of hot cocoa. As delicious as it is to drink, the heat of the cup can stimulate warm memories from how the skin’s nerves measure that heat to make you feel more comfortable.
Fingers pressing gently into the skin through massage help pain, inflammation and improve stress levels in how the nerves and blood flows and resets from the brain.
Healing pain and stress through touch and human contact can work miracles. Thus, don’t be shy to use touch because it can accomplish physical and mental improvements to what is going on in your life.