Combatting the Loneliness Epidemic at Mindful Touch
The US is facing a loneliness epidemic. Loneliness levels in the US have been on the rise at an alarming rate for years and were compounded by the isolation brought on by social distancing and remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Loneliness is fueling the current mental health crisis, so this Mental Health Awareness Month, the Mindful Touch Massage & Spa team aims to focus on this epidemic, how to combat this problem for people, and how to promote health in our community.
The loneliness epidemic
According to the most recent loneliness study by Cigna, over half of all adults in the US consider themselves lonely, with young adults suffering at a disproportionately higher rate; seventy-nine percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 reported experiencing feelings of loneliness. While the social isolation of the pandemic certainly didn’t help, these numbers have been at alarming rates since pre-pandemic times; healthcare provider Cigna Health started tracking loneliness in 2018 and considers the issue a global epidemic.
Humans are social creatures by nature. From an early age, we learn emotional and mental development and regulation through our interactions with others. While people vary in the amount of social interaction they need – think: the difference between introverts and extroverts – we all require at least some level of social connection to others.
The effects of loneliness on health
Predictably, feeling lonely can have an impact on our mental health. People who experience feelings of loneliness are also more likely to experience mental health effects and mood disorders like anxiety, depression, stress, or a lack of self-confidence. But studies suggest that loneliness and mental health go hand-in-hand in more ways than one: the most recent loneliness data shows that adults with mental health issues are also more than twice as likely to experience loneliness as those without.
Loneliness affects physical health, as well. People who identify as lonely report problems sleeping, which can lead to a slew of health problems like weight gain, heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. According to the National Institute of Aging, social isolation and loneliness are linked to higher risks for a number of physical ailments, including high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and even death.
A study by the JAMA Network found a correlation between social isolation and an increase in the levels of blood clotting proteins in older women in the US that can cause heart attacks and strokes. Older adults who feel increased levels of loneliness and social isolation are also at higher risk for developing dementia.
New research indicates that one of the most important markers of well-being is our social connections. Participating in activities with other people, especially our loved ones, helps us to build bonds that allow us to feel more connected to those who we share experiences with. That’s why at Mindful Touch, we’re working to help our community relax and build the social connections that are so important to our well-being.
We created the Sole Sanctuary as a relaxing activity that can be enjoyed with friends and loved ones. You and your loved ones can enjoy a hydrotherapy session together as a peaceful escape from the stress of your busy life, allowing you to indulge in much-needed self-care to unwind and spend quality time together.
If you’re looking for an activity that allows you to be alone but not lonely, our massage therapy sessions are a great option; massage can help combat the effects of loneliness because it serves as a form of positive touch and can help you cope with the stress that amplifies feelings of social isolation.
Experiencing frequent positive touch can have positive impacts on our mental and physical health because it triggers the release of serotonin- which is known to positively impact social behaviors and trigger emotional responses that can lead to feelings of relaxation, trust, and psychological stability- as well as oxytocin- the body’s natural antidepressant- and dopamine- a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of pleasure.
Mindful Touch is here to help you thrive
In line with current research that indicates the US has an epidemic of stress-related illnesses, Mindful Touch promotes relaxation as just as important to our health as good nutrition, exercise, and rest. Our spa’s focus is helping people to truly thrive, not just get by. Book an appointment for yourself and your loved ones to build connection and relaxation together.
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