Less Stress Without Medication

Stress is one of the top health complaints for New Yorkers, and there’s new way it can be treated without medication. All you need is a caring pair of hands. New research shows, a supportive, warm touch lowers stress and blood pressure.

“It’s very powerful, touching, it’s part of healing,” one woman said.

Dr. Stephan Quentzel from Beth Israel Medical Center explains, “Chronic stress in particular is related to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, across the board major killers.

A study followed married couples and found that massage and other non-sexual caring forms of touch lowered stress hormones and blood pressure especially among men. It also increased a hormone called oxytocin which has a calming effect.

“Changes in the brain, changes in stress hormone levels, changes in how our blood clots, all of it is tied to stress levels,” Dr. Quentzel said.

For years, health care workers have noted the healing power of what is called “the laying on of hands.” Reports have shown that regular physical contact helps patients heal better, faster. “It does relieve stress, definitely, like affection and just human contact,” one man said.

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