Touch is good for us. While that may come as no surprise to the massage profession, research that helps us describe the underlying physiology of touch is a tremendous breakthrough. We can now tell our customers exactly why massage makes them feel good.

Within seconds of receiving positive touch, two indisputable and totally involuntary reactions occur. The first is that the bloodstream gets flooded with oxytocin, the feel-good hormone. The second is the stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system response, otherwise known as the relaxation response.

Oxytocin immediately makes us feel calm and connected in empathetic ways to both our internal and external environments. When the relaxation response is triggered, our bodies move into healing mode where digestion occurs, organs repair and our immune response is supported. This is the opposite of the stress response.

These simple ideas can be quickly communicated—verbally and in printed and line marketing materials—and add an important scientific layer of credibility to our simple touch services. We no longer have to promise musculoskeletal miracles, but can confidently make the case that positive touch is enough.

David Palmer developed the first professional massage chair in 1986 and has trained more than 14,000 practitioners in seated massage techniques and marketing. He wrote “21st Century Workplace Seated Massage” for MASSAGE Magazine’s October 2012 issue. Palmer can contacted for training and speaking engagements through his website,