Cuddle up to the one you love to reap the benefits of heart and spirit
Besides being a universal gesture of love and affection, smooching has its own field of study called philematology. And the science of kissing offers pleasurable insights into the transporting power of this romantic expression.
According to researchers, kissing produces many physical and emotional reactions and is a powerful
blueprint of chemical attraction. Such intimate biology also can melt tension, according to a 2009 study led by Wendy Hill, Ph.D., professor of neuroscience at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa.
A Therapeutic Boost to Mind, Heart and Soul
Dr. Hill measured the levels of oxytocin, a hormone responsible for bonding, and cortisol, a hormone released in response to stress, in 15 heterosexual couples in serious relationships. After kissing and holding hands for 15 minutes, cortisol levels dropped in all couples. The longer the couple had been together, the further the cortisol decreased.
It’s no surprise that kissing offers a therapeutic boost to the mind, heart and soul, says Joy Davidson, Ph.D., a sex and relationship therapist in New York City. “Biologically, the lips are more sensitive and have a greater number of receptors for transmitting messages to the brain than most other areas of the body,” she says.
A Kiss to Remember
Of course, that doesn’t mean just any old kiss will do. To get the maximum stress-reducing effect,
make it a kiss to remember.
“Great kissing can be like a meditation that focuses your attention to a pinpoint, quieting the buzz in your mind,” explains Davidson. “As the outside world dissolves, you’re whisked into a dimension
filled with extraordinary sensation, emotion and responsiveness.”
– Sally J. Clasen