Being chronically stressed can be as bad for your heart as smoking five cigarettes a day, say Columbia University Medical Centre researchers. Fortunately, scientists from the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine have uncovered an enjoyable way to manage stress. According to Tiffany Field, PhD, who founded the institute, they determined that "massage therapy lowers cortisol, a hormone that's produced in response to stress, by an average of 31 percent." (Plus, try these 5 Heart-Healthy Fats You Should Be Eating) No money for frequent trips to the spa? Don't worry. "Any activity that stimulates pressure receptors--such as walking, which presses the soles of the feet; doing yoga; scrubbing yourself with a brush or loofah in the shower; rubbing a tennis ball along your limbs--should have an effect similar to that of moderate pressure massage," says Field.
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