When you’re feeling down or depressed, a heartfelt hug from a loved one can be key to lifting your mood. While that remedy might seem like a cliché, scientists believe there’s strong evidence to back its truth. Consensual physical contact in all forms has now been linked to helping alleviate the symptoms of depression and other mental health disorders such as anxiety.

Healing Hands

During the COVID-19 pandemic, loneliness became a near public health pandemic of its own, with people reporting declining mental health due to a lack of intimacy between people. It turns out they weren’t exaggerating. Daily touch is important to everyone’s mental health.

A review and analysis of 212 studies by a team of researchers exploring the impact of touch showed that physical contact can ease feelings of pain, depression, and anxiety. Amazingly, the power of touch by objects like weighted blankets or robots was beneficial, too. According to the researchers, the type of touch—think a hug versus a massage—didn’t seem to pose a bigger benefit in adults. The studies suggest that all touch is healing.

A Lasting Effect

While research shows that consensual touch in all manners is good for a person’s mental health, what makes it even more impactful is to experience it with regularity. Research points to touch on a person’s head being the most powerful.

Incorporating the practice of touch into your life might feel daunting or unusual. However, there are some simple ways to achieve it.

        • Invest in a weighted blanket: Weighted blankets have long been known to help people with anxiety, depression, and insomnia experience a better night’s sleep.
        • Treat yourself to a massage: Regular massage has a multitude of health benefits, and one of them is improving your mental health thanks to the impact of human touch.
        • Become a hugger: Embracing friends and loved ones when you greet them is a great way to experience the power of touch and pass it on to others, though be mindful of forcing this habit onto those who may be uncomfortable.

While researchers continue to explore the power of touch, for us, knowing that even simple moments of connection can make a lasting change in our mental health is something worth pursuing in the short and long term.

For more information about our services and how we can support your mental health journey, please contact Ketamine Greater Boston today. Your well-being is our priority.

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