Touch reduces stress hormones and boosts hormones such as oxytocin and serotonin that calm us and make us feel happier. Being in reassuring physical contact can have a calming effect. This can make a huge difference: in experiments, people were less anxious about receiving pain from electric shocks when holding their partner’s hand.79 We hold stress in our bodies and feel this in tight and painful muscles, stiff neck and shoulders, and general aches and pains. This can be soothed away by light touch or eased out through massage.
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