General Question

Yellowdog's avatar

Why does the touch or massage of another person feel so much better than when you do it yourself?

Asked by Yellowdog (9644points) 1 week ago

I have terrible nerve damage / pain and numbness in my right arm and hand, and when I had physical therapy or when my GF massages this area, it feels excruciatingly good. But I cannot do this myself (even though physical therapists have encouraged me to do it regularly). It has to be another’s hand.

This experience is fairly common with people who undergo physical therapy or regularly have a good massage or back rub. Which is ironic, considering that we rarely completely trust another person with wounds or injuries.

Touch can also be stimulating, healing, and supportive in ways that are hard to define. But we cannot replicate the effect on ourselves. It has to be another person. Why is that?

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7 Answers

PaisleyFaye's avatar

I think because its just that much more relaxing and enjoyable when its done for you, the other person is more able to apply a certain amount of pressure with skill and technique. So relaxation is key to enjoying and getting the full benefits of a massage. I also believe that the sensation that you feel during the massage has alot to do with the blood circulating throughout your muscles.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Because someone else is giving and you receive thus the healing begins.

longgone's avatar

Hugs and other gentle touches release the bonding hormone oxytocine, which strengthens relationships and reduces stress. It also lowers blood pressure.

On an evolutionary basis, social creatures benefit from access to a variety of behaviours that will soothe others. That might explain why we’re born with a desire to be held and cuddled. Of course, learning also plays a role. Some people don’t like to be touched at all, and everyone has different preferences. For example, I like having my back rubbed. I have good memories of falling asleep to that when I was very young.

MrGrimm888's avatar

There’s an attention factor.

And typically, another person is either trained to help you, or they’re trying to.

There is also the obvious fact, that you can’t reach areas of your body with proper leverage.

There are anatomical differences, as well. For instance, I bite my finger nails. So. I always get a good back scratch, from a few of my female friends, who have nails.

I guess there’s also a sexual variable. I don’t like another male doing anything to me…

LadyMarissa's avatar

When you’re doing it to yourself, you know what’s coming & don’t get the surprise feeling when given by others!!! PLUS…you can’t completely relax while thinking what your next move will be,

Patty_Melt's avatar

I don’t find that to be true. I massage better than most people I have met.

ucme's avatar

Not always the case.
Same with tickling…

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