Giving and receiving massages helps to improve relationships, new research finds.
Both partners experienced better physical and emotional wellbeing even three weeks after the study was over.
After massages, couples felt better able to cope with stress whether or not they were giving or receiving.
Ms Sayuri Naruse, the study’s first author, said:
“The benefits of receiving a massage from a professional are well documented, but this research shows how a similar outcome can be obtained by couples with little prior training and experience of the activity.”
The study included 38 people who were given a three-week massage course.
Along with the psychological and physical benefits, most couples continued to use massage after the course finished.
Ms Naruse said:
“These findings show that massage can be a simple and effective way for couples to improve their physical and mental wellbeing whilst showing affection for one another.
Our data also suggests that these positive effects of a short massage course may be long lasting, as is reflected in 74 per cent of the sample continuing to use massage after the course had finished.
Massage is a cost effective and pleasant intervention that isn’t just for a therapeutic setting but can be easily incorporated into a healthy couple’s daily routine.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the Journal of Health Psychology (Naruse et al., 2018).