The Healing Power of Therapeutic Touch
Touch is a basic mammalian need. Animal researchers found that baby monkeys suffer severe emotional disturbance, perhaps even brain impairment, without maternal touch. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Harlow#Monkey_studies)
Massage may be the oldest medicine in the world, and now science is confirming the health benefits of therapeutic touch. Touch relieves pain, but it also does much more. New research suggests massage actually accelerates healing by decreasing the inflammatory compounds in massaged muscle tissues. (Science News, Mar 10, 2012.)
Massage helps ward off bugs by boosting your "natural killer cells," the immune system's first line of defense against invading illness. Massage even seems to boost immunity in those people with severely compromised immune systems, such as breast-cancer patients. (www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/03/08/healthmag.massage/)
Touch therapy has now gone mainstream. As reported by Mike Adams of NaturalNews.com, "[As] more and more people are discovering, massage therapy and healing touch therapies are proving to be extremely good medicine for treating those with chronic diseases such as cancer, osteoporosis, depression, and even circulatory disorders. There are several good reasons for this, such as the fact that massage therapy helps move lymph fluid around the body and oxygenate organs and tissues."
The number of doctors and hospitals recommending therapeutic touch has been increasing over the last few years. Adams continues, "True healers are willing to get involved with their patients in terms of understanding them, seeing the world from their perspective, and even touching them in a healing way with positive intent." (www.naturalnews.com/001531.html)
Kristyn Kusek Lewis of Health.com underscores that massage is "real medicine." She notes, "Having your honey rub your back is sweet, but a good massage therapist can make you feel like a new person. Research suggests massage can ease insomnia, boost immunity, prevent PMS, and more. Maybe that's why hospitals are making it a standard therapy."
Lewis notes that rubdowns are especially effective for aches like low-back pain. "Several studies show massage reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol while boosting the feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine. Those changes slow your heart rate, reduce blood pressure, and block your nervous system's pain receptors. Massage also increases blood flow to the muscles, which may help them heal."
Even television's Dr. Oz has climbed aboard the bodywork bandwagon: "All of our surgery patients are offered the treatment I call it 'service with a smile' and it's a mandatory weekly prescription I give myself." (Health.com)
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