Detailed guides to painful problems, treatments & more

It’s good for touch

 •  • by Paul Ingraham

Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of PainScience.com: a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

A few days ago I published one of my most blatantly “anti-massage” posts in a long time. Of course, it wasn’t actually anti-massage, it was anti-pseudoscientific-boosterism. Nevertheless, I feel a need to balance that blast of curmudgeonry, and I found just the thing. Rey Allen (in a private Facebook discussion group):

Touch is our oldest form of language. It’s a social activity. It builds companionships and reinforces bonds, signals cooperation, elicits reciprocity, results in conflict resolution and reconciliation (with ourselves too), reduces sympathetic tone and modulates pain. It predates primates.

To not capitalize on it is like Americans complaining that bilinguals are stupid for not primarily speaking English

When the alleged benefits of massage are challenged, the knee-jerk response from so many massage therapists is a rather petulant, “So what do you think massage is good for then?”

Touch! It’s good for touch.

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