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Massage Helps the Bereaved

Weekly massages for eight weeks after the loss of a loved one consoled the bereaved and helped them recover from their grief.

As reported in The Medical News, 18 people of varying ages who had lost a relative to cancer were offered massage. All but one reported that they received considerable benefits.

The Karolinska Institute is the Swedish research facility where Kerstin Uvnas Moberg did her pioneering research on oxytocin.

This study adds to the small bit of research validating the idea that massage causes the release of oxytocin in the recipient. However, we should note that the study does not seem to have actually measured levels of oxytocin in the participants' blood.  But the researchers have the very informed opinion that this is the case:

"Soft tissue massage is gentle, but firm" explains Dr [Berit S.] Cronfalk [from the Stockholms Sjukhem Foundation], who carried out the research with colleagues from the Karolinska Institutet. "This activates touch receptors which then release oxytocin, a hormone known for its positive effects on well-being and relaxation.

Although you'll see it all over the internet, I've only seen one scientific study measuring the oxytocin levels of massage recipients. Still, it makes intuitive sense; and the emotion study participants felt is certainly that oxytocin feeling.

"All the people we spoke to used the word consolation" says Dr Cronfalk.

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