Skin contact for a healthy immune system
Whether you’re holding hands, getting a back massage or hugging, you’ll experience the benefits of skin contact. Studies have shown that when you’re feeling stressed (hyperlink this sentence to article 5 on stress) and you have positive physical touch with someone, your heart rate slows, your blood pressure lowers, and stress hormones decrease. Not only that, but there’s also an increase in oxytocin, the “love hormone” that helps us relax. Because skin contact destresses us, research shows this can strengthen immune systems. This is because when you’re under a lot of stress, you produce cortisol, which has a negative impact on your immune system.
Boost immune systems of newborns
Good bacteria on our skin and in our intestinal system form part of a healthy immune system. They help to stop bad bacteria attaching to skin and growing in our bodies. When babies are born, they don’t yet have this good bacteria, which is why skin contact is so important for newborns. When babies get skin-to-skin contact (please hyperlink this part of the sentence to article 3 on parenting) the good bacteria on their mother’s skin transfers to theirs, which could protect babies from some types of infections. New mothers should try to maintain skin-to-skin contact for as long as possible after their baby is born.