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The Power of Touch — What Research Says About Touch and Head Pain

We may live in a touch-adverse culture, but new research suggests platonic, positive touch has some powerful health benefits — including a reduction in headache pain.

According to research by the University of Miami Touch Research Institute, touch can lower blood pressure and heart rate (two signs of stress), decrease cortisol (a stress hormone), and increase oxytocin – a powerful hormone associated with positive feelings.

Feel-Good Medicine

Scientists say touch is feel-good medicine. But it requires moderate pressure for healthy benefits — too light of touch may just tickle and too heavy a hand can tip off your flight-or-fight response.

Massage is recognized as an ideal way to get all the health benefits; it may enhance immune functions as it increases the amount of natural killer cells in the body.

Touch for Pain Relief

And there’s more: Touch may even have the power to alleviate head pain for some headache sufferers. In a study from 1986, 60 participants with tension headaches were either treated with “therapeutic touch” (a “laying of hands,” or touch that intends to help or heal) or a placebo. Of those who received therapeutic touch, 90% experienced a reduction in headache pain immediately afterward and 70% felt a reduction four hours later. Doctors say an increase in serotonin may explain the healing effect at play.

The takeaway? The effects of touch are lasting ones. Next time you’re feeling stressed or dealing with a headache, give a friend a hug or maybe treat yourself to a massage.

Pain Management, Migraines, Headache Treatment in Southern California

Pasadena Pain Management offers pain management treatment for TMJ/TMD, migraine, headaches and neck pain in Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Pasadena Pain Management, we offer the exclusive TruDenta treatment therapy — a highly specialized form of care that involves cutting-edge dental technology, without needles or injections. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable pain management care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping our patients happy and pain free.