The Science of Massage: Affective Touch

Massage has been shown to provide benefits on both a physical and mental level. We’re going to explore four of the factors which have been proven through research to provide lasting benefits in the body and the brain.

The word “touch” has the longest definition in the Oxford Dictionary, at 14 columns. Affective Touch is an emerging field of research which focuses on how touch affects our emotional state. Therapeutic touch mediates the release of oxytocin, which can result in reduced reactivity to stressors and improved mood/affect. Studies have shown that moderate pressure massage has contributed to many positive effects including increased weight gain in preterm infants, reduced pain in different syndromes including fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis, enhanced attentiveness, reduced depression and enhanced immune function (increased natural killer cells and natural killer cell activity).

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