A study of 34 young, married couples found that massage and touch lowers their stress hormones and blood pressure (especially in men). The Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine released this earth-shattering information two weeks ahead of their release date.
Twenty couples, all married at least six months, participated in a four-week intervention that promoted emotional and physical closeness. They were brought into the lab for training and testing, but the bulk of their actions were at home, including a 30-minute massage (neck, shoulder or forehead) three times a week. Participants wore portable blood pressure monitors for 24 hours to supply a number of readings. They also completed questionnaires about how often they hugged, kissed, held hands or were otherwise affectionate. The 14-couple control group had testing but not the intervention.
First of all, who cares? Not that I am against affection or anything but aren't these results kind of intuitive? Second, only twenty couples were examined. That is not a huge amount so how they got significance in this study is beyond me. Third, the couples were from Utah. I grew up in New York and trust me, those results may not cross over to the east coast. Lastly, these were young and freshly married couples. A lot of older women I treat would rather have their husband NOT bother them and a lot of older men I treat would rather get the massage from the faux nail shop at their local strip mall. How is that for a happy ending?