We already know that communication with our partner is very important for the health of the relationship. But recently, I chanced upon a study which made me realize that the benefits of good communication go deeper than merely psychological.
Couples who talk to each other may heal faster from cuts and bruises, suggests a study by researchers at the Ohio State University, Columbus. The study sought to establish a scientific link between relationship anxiety and lowered immunity. Small blister wounds were created on the forearms of the participating couples, and saliva and blood samples were collected. Researchers also did a count on four types of immune cells.
While the key finding of the study was that couples in stressful relationships had more of the stress hormone cortisol, and fewer T-Cells which play a strong role in boosting immunity, one of the observations was about physical healing. The wounds on the forearms of those who were in negative relationships healed slower than in those who were in more interactive and happier relationships. It is easy to see the link, of course–compromised immunity is bound to make healing slower.
Cortisol, in particular, slows down the delivery of neutrophils that rush to the site of injury, and diminishes the action of cytokines–compounds that start the healing process.
So, there is now one more reason to talk to your partner and iron out your differences. Not only is good communication beneficial for your heart and mind, it can also heal your body faster.