Touching and being touched has a remarkable effect on your health and happiness, from just holding hands to having sex.
Skin-to-skin stoking not only floods your body with oxytocin and feel-good endorphins, but also lowers your blood pressure and heart rate, increases immune function and relieves pain.
Health magazine calls it the ultimate mind-body medicine.
The best way to tap into this "medicine" is to have sex. Making love involves full body contact, which does amazing things for our emotional well-being. In addition, regular sex, defined as having intercourse once or twice a week, offers numerous physical benefits that can actually keep you from getting sick as frequently. And if you don't have a partner, go solo. Masturbation can help prevent depression.
You don't have to have sex to reap the healthy benefits of touching. Health magazine advises these four things, too:
1. Get a 45-minute massage, which will not only help your muscles to unclench and relax, but also slow a racing heartbeat, lower blood pressure and cause the stress hormone cortisol to decrease. All of this helps you to recharge.
2. Give someone you love a hug! When we embrace another human being, our bodies flood with the bonding hormone, oxytocin, which makes people feel secure and trusting. That, in turn, lowers cortisol levels and reduces stress, as well as lowers blood pressure and heart rate.
3. Hold hands with that special someone. Just twining your fingers together with the man or woman you love will fill you with a sense of calm and reduce stress-related activity in the brain's hypothalamus.
4. Snuggling with your dog or cat will not only make you less tense, but also improve your immune function and ease pain--or at the very least, your perception of pain.
--From the Editors at Netscape