A ten-minute foot massage could be the way to your loved one’s heart, according to new research that shows squeezing and rubbing the feet causes a surge in the feelgood ‘cuddle hormone’ oxytocin.
In the study, 40 adult males received ten minutes of light foot massage, either by hand or a massage machine.
Blood samples were taken before and after, and levels of oxytocin were measured. It is released by the body during childbirth and breastfeeding, when we cuddle, and during orgasm. Levels were boosted in the blood by up to 51 per cent after the hand-administered massage, compared to 18 per cent after machine-administered massage. The concentration of nerves in the feet is thought to be a reason they are so sensitive.
Saunas don’t just help you relax but can slash the risk of dying of heart disease or stroke, a new Finnish study has found.
Researchers from the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Jyväskylä discovered that people who visit saunas at least four times a week are four times less likely to die of cardiovascular disease than those who use them once a week or less.
Saunas – a national pastime in parts of Scandinavia – have been shown to lower blood pressure and trigger an increase in heart rate equal to that from low- to moderate-intensity physical exercise.
The Finnish research, published in the journal BMC Medicine, suggests that the benefits of a sauna are far greater if you spend at least 45 minutes a week in one.
A happy home is a healthy home
Liking where you live is vital for good health, according to new research.
Experts from University College London, Edinburgh University and Sussex University studied 11,000 adults aged over 50. Their findings, published in the journal Health And Place, showed that more than a third of those dissatisfied with their neighbourhood had poor health, compared with fewer than a quarter of those who were happy with their home area.
New test for lung cancer
Lung cancer patients are to be offered a new blood test that can tell doctors whether their treatment is working or if the disease is likely to spread.
It replaces invasive biopsies, where tumour pieces are removed from the lungs using a needle fed through the chest.
The test, called EGFR mutation testing, looks for fragments of tumour DNA in the bloodstream. By studying specific alterations in this DNA, doctors can see how the disease is reacting to cancer therapies.
The test gives results within a week, meaning that doctors can quickly switch drugs if necessary. Doctors at private hospitals in Manchester, Cardiff, London and Cambridge are using the breakthrough test, which also has the backing of NHS spending watchdog NICE.