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November 8, 2013

Massage increases Social Connectivity & Trust

I just came across a large sample study (95 subjects) on the effects of massage on oxytocin (OT) and adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) hormone.    This study gives us the science behind why we like massages.  .  Oxytocin is a hormone that our body naturally produces when we are engaged in meaningful social activity, intimacy, or experiences that engender closeness to others. Oxytocin  reduces anxiety and increases  social connectivity; it also increases trust, generosity, and empathy, which are all important in sustaining social relationships.   ACTH, on the other hand, is the hormone associated with stress, anxiety and precedes the release of cortisol, another stress hormone.  What is absolutely amazing is that researchers were able to document that a 15 minute massage increased OT levels in each subject by about 17% and decreased ACTH by 6%.  Massages may not only relax you, they may also promote trustworthiness, generosity and empathy and help you improve your ability to sustain social relationships.

Study was reported in Alternative Therapies, Nov/Dec 2012, Vol. 18, No.6, p11-18.

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