Could sensual massage be a social feature?
The skin gives you a tremendous amount of informations about the external world. Without the sense of touch it would be difficult to walk around, as you wouldn’t be able to feel the warmth of the sun. Also the delicate icy touch of the snow flakes, the tender caresses of your dear ones…
For many decades, scientists have studied physical sensations and their implications and effects upon human life. Thousands of receptor nerve cells in and beneath your skin are designed to sense heat, cold, light, touch, pressure, and physical pain. The scientists have discovered, for example, that even though pain is not something pleasant, it has its good side as well. For pain is the body’s built-in alarm, which informs you that something is not going well.
The good news is that in the last years scientists begun to focus their studies on pleasure as well.
In 2009, a team of researchers from the University of North Carolina, US, and University of Gothenburg, in Sweden, have managed to discover the skin sensors that are responsible for making us aware of the pleasurable kind of touches. This study was of a high value, as it offered new insights about the way touches influence human life and development. It also gave us a new perspective upon how massages can help our social life, increase the strength of social bounds, improve our relationships and so forth.
But more important, the researchers have determined that only a specific kind of touch would trigger the receptors. According to an article published in “Nature Neuroscience”, the skin has to be touched at a certain speed. Thus, a speed of 4 to 5 cm per second or even slower, about 10 cm per second, is ideal for the pleasurable sensations to be triggered. Now that is a very important discovery for us, as sensual massage is focused exactly on that specific kind of touches.
In 2013, another team of researchers, this time from Caltech, proved the existence of specialised sensory receptors for pleasant sensations. The team reported that these specific neurones are selectively activated by stroking, but not by other forms of touch (such as poking or pinching). This was the first study to identify molecularly defined sensory neurones for pleasant touch. And again, this study is of a great importance for us as it proves that gentle and sensuous massages are nurturing our nervous system with a most needed “food”.
Further studies shows that no comforting physical contact is stressful for young people. Thus, a gentle and delicate massage is helpful not only for releasing the stress, but also for a natural development of human beings.
Other studies indicates that the prolonged absence of touch leaves human beings with emotional wounds which are very difficult to recover from. Therefore, a gentle or sensual massage on a weekly basis is almost a must for lonely or single people, these researchers are suggesting.
And later studies showed that sensuous, sensual massage improves work performance, reduces stress and boosts up the immune system.
Comparing the results
In the light of all these studies, hundreds in number, researchers concluded that skin is a social organ as well, not less than the eyes, ears and mouth. For we are creatures of touch that are enjoying being groomed. This all makes sense, if you think about it. For we comfort children with soft strokes. We hug and caress a friend in need. We kiss our lovers and touch their faces. We massage and caress our beloved ones while making love…