How important is touch in our relationships?
Touch is crucial in creating and strengthening romantic relationships. Tactile physical affection is highly correlated with overall relationship and partner satisfaction. Moreover, conflict resolution is easier with more physical affection—conflicts are resolved more easily with increased amounts of hugging, cuddling/holding, and kissing on the lips (Gulledge et al., 2003).
Dr. Justin Garcia, a research scientist at The Kinsey Institute, says the disparity between couples who long to be touched and those who actually are could be attributed to a common shift. Between 18 and 26 months into a relationship, some couples go through a transition from passionate love, which centers on attention, obsessive thought, and intense cravings for love, to companion love.
“We move somewhat adaptively into companion love. That shift is important when we want to stay with someone for a long time,” Garcia told Medical Daily. “When we do that shift, we do less touch. You get less forms of communication and intimacy.”
This is why he believes massage and touch are integral in maintaining relationships and sexual satisfaction. The best way to think about touch is that it’s nonverbal communication, according to Garcia. A small touch on someone’s arm, their hand, or their back as they walk is a really great way to build a connection between two people.
This Valentine’s Day…
Say it with a touch, and give your significant other a massage using NURU Massage Gel to heighten the tactile sensations and reap its surprising benefits including :
Getting a massage not only helps us relax, but also gives our immune system a boost. Receiving a 45-minute massage has been found to increase the number of lymphocytes, white blood cells that help defend the body from disease, according to a 2010 study. Other physical changes included: Lower levels of cytokines, molecules that play a role in inflammation; a decrease in the stress hormone cortisol; and a decrease in vasopression, a hormone that plays a role in aggressive behavior. One session of massage therapy is enough to produce measurable changes in the body’s immune and endocrine response.
A bad night’s sleep can be remedied with massage therapy, according to the National Institutes of Health. Several studies have found that getting a massage reduced fatigue and improved sleep in infants, children, adults, and the elderly, including those with psychiatric disorders, cancer, and heart disease, among many others. Most studies credit it to massages increasing delta waves, brain waves connected to deep sleep, which would explain why it’s easier to drift off on a massage table.
Manage Anxiety and Depression
It’s easy to feel anxious or fall into depression when we’re going through tough times. However, a massage can soothe these feelings by reducing cortisol levels. Previous research has found adults asked to relax in a massage chair for 15 minutes, two times per week for five weeks, experienced an increase in frontal delta waves (slow, loud brainwaves that suspend external awareness and are a source of empathy), which promoted feelings of relaxation. Meanwhile, frontal alpha brainwaves and the strength of beta waves (present in the brain when we’re alert) decreased. This helped adults fall into deep relaxation and decrease their anxiety.
Considering all of its mental and physical benefits, it’s little surprise that the desire for touch doesn’t vary by gender, age, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status, according to Dr. Garcia: “It’s fundamentally human.” A massage is one of the most simple and effective ways to be touched and feel a sense of intimacy with someone. Spoil your partner and strengthen the existing bond through touch and massage for a healthier relationship.