I thought I'd shared the link to the NPR transcript.
Hopefully you take the time to read that. It isn't very long and is very insightful. But in case you don't it is all about how touch can reduce stress and increase connection between individuals. They explain how touch can stimulate the vagus nerve which in turn can decrease the heart rate. Also explained is how touch releases oxytocin, the cuddle hormone. Oxytocin can also increase trust behaviors in humans. Much of this I've heard before but is still fascinating to me. The segment rounded out in a way worth quoting...
"Prof. HERTENSTEIN: A soft touch on the arm makes the orbital frontal cortex light up, just like those other rewarding stimuli. So, touch is a very powerful, rewarding stimulus - just like your chocolate that you find in your cupboard at home.
TRUDEAU: So the surging of oxytocin makes you feel more trusting and connected. And the cascade of electrical impulses slows your heart and lowers your blood pressure, making you feel less stressed, more soothed - all initiated by a simple, supportive touch. So the next time a friend is stressed or worried, give them a hug or a shoulder rub. It'll make them feel better. Their biology practically guarantees it."
I love that touch can be thought of as rewarding just like chocolate! It really is. Just think about it....Hugs, gentle touch, and massage make us feel better and there's scientific proof behind it!