About a fourth of Americans say they have no confidants outside of their families.
According to Researchers at Duke and the University of Arizona the number of true confidants that Americans say they have in on the decline. In fact, since the 1980s, it has dropped from about three to about two. And, about a fourth of Americans say they have no confidants outside of their families - twice the percentage of two decades ago.
Translation? Americans are increasingly cut off not only from emotional support but from the therapeutic benefits of physical touch as well. Humans, not just Americans, are pack animals. We are "hard-wired" to thrive in social, touchy feely environments. Studies have proven that a simple hug – a little touch – not only lowers output of cortisol, a stress hormone, but triggers a surge of our two “feel good” brains chemicals, serotonin and dopamine.
Perhaps this explains why massage therapy is on the rise. A recent survey by Opinion Research Corporation International, August 10-13, 2006 concluded that:
· More Americans are getting in touch: Thirty-nine million Americans – more than one out of 6 – get annual massages. They are also talking to their doctors about integrating it into their health care for medical and general health care purposes.
· Men vs. women: The number of both men and women who received a massage in the last year has doubled since 1972 but, at 23%, women still get the most massages.
· General Acceptance: Baby Boomers, ages 55-64, have tripled their use of massage therapy over the past ten years. 94% of Generation X & Y believe that massage therapy is beneficial to their health and prefer it as a form of pain relief over medication.
And, mayhaps this also explains the success of (click here for more re-Energizing "Now What?")