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the benefits of physical contact on health

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the benefits of physical contact on health

A new study published in the scientific journal Nature Human Behavior has found that physical contact, including hugs, caresses, massages, and other types of tactile interactions, can have significant benefits on both mental and physical health. The study, conducted by a European research team, analyzed the effects of different types of touch on health and identified factors that influence their effectiveness.

The research involved a quantitative analysis of 137 studies and a qualitative review of 75 additional studies, with a total of 12,966 participants. The findings revealed that physical contact can help reduce pain, depression, and anxiety in both adults and children, as well as promote weight gain in newborns.

The study also highlighted the importance of the type of touch, its frequency, and duration in producing positive effects on health. Human contact was found to have greater benefits on mental health, while physical health benefits were similar whether the touch was from a human or an object, such as a massaging robot.

Maternal contact was found to be particularly beneficial for newborns, while frequency of contact was associated with benefits in reducing anxiety, depression, and pain in adults. However, the study also found that an increase in frequency or duration of contact did not necessarily lead to greater benefits, and in some cases, could have negative effects on parameters like cortisol levels and heart rate.

The researchers concluded that tactile interventions can be systematically used to improve health outcomes and emphasized the potential for further research in this area. The study’s findings suggest that simple acts of physical contact can have powerful effects on both mental and physical well-being, offering promising avenues for improving health through touch.

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