A gentle touch for peace and relaxation

In our modern society, many acute and chronic diseases are thought to be caused by stress. If the level of stress hormones in the human body is high for a long time, stress responses can be observed in the form of disturbed sleep as well as problems with the metabolic system and other body functions. Obviously it is very important to deal with the causes of stress, but there are also other ways of alleviating the negative consequences of stress, e.g. by activating the body's own "anti-stress system".

Stress and relaxation are biochemical processes that are tightly intertwined. If a person gets stressed, the adrenal glands produce stress hormones that raise the body's level of activity. Fortunately, a converse system can be activated in the body making a person feel more calm and relaxed. A central substance in this process is a peptide called oxytocin. High levels of oxytocin in the body generally cause the amount of cortisol, a powerful stress hormone, to decrease. The result of this changed balance is that a person feels more relaxed and that the likelihood of healing and growth increase.

Holding somebodys hand can be calming and be beneficial for the healing processes in the body Skin to skin contact, e.g. in the form of massage, is a very effective way to release oxytocin. Breast feeding woman generally have very high levels of oxytocin. Sometimes simple forms of skin contact mean a lot for a person and can even make the difference between life and death. Holding the hand of somebody who is depressed, seriously hurt or in a state of shock has a calming effect on that person and facilitates his or her self-healing abilities, both on a physical and a mental level. Research that has been done at the University of Miami shows that prematurely born babies who receive frequent massage increase their body weight by between 29 and 58 percent more than other babies. The effects of physical contact can also be shown among people who have domestic animals.

Another way of dealing with stress is to train in Qigong. Many of those who practise Qigong are more capable to deal with stress in day to day life than before they started training. If you want to know more about this, please click on "results" and "cases" and search for the word stress.


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