Massage helps to release a brain chemical called oxytocin, otherwise known as “the moral molecule”. Rigorous research carried out in 2004 by neuroscientist Dr Paul J Zak discovered that oxytocin allows us to determine whom to trust. Also an economist, Professor Zak believes trust is the single most important factor in whether a society flourishes or declines. He asked the question “Why do human beings, instinctively prefer to trust others and why does trusting someone elicit trust back?” The answer is oxytocin -“ the moral molecule”. Oxytocin generates the empathy that drives moral behaviour which inspires trust. This in turn causes more oxytocin to be released, more empathy, more trust and, presumably, a happier society
One way of stimulating oxytocin is through touch. Here in the UK, we’re still a bit shy about touching and being touched whereas on the Continent, hugs and kisses are freely exchanged with all and sundry. I’m passionate about the power of touch and believe that nurturing touch reaches parts of us that words can’t. If you need convincing check out this website http://www.freehugscampaign.org/. So next time you’re feeling down, hug someone, pet a dog, give a massage and be happy!