Kiss Me - I'm Stressed
Cuddle up to the one you love to reap the benefits of heart and
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
filled with extraordinary sensation, emotion and
- Sally J. Clasen