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The American Heart Association estimates one in four people suffer from hypertension. A study of more than 5,400 people by Australia's Baker Medical Research Institute found that pet owners had lower blood pressure and lower levels of blood cholesterol and triglycerides. Stroking a pet is proven to help ward off hypertension.
However, pet ownership in itself can bring unwanted physical and emotional stress, possibly negating the benefits of stroking. Walking the dog is tiring, discovering your neighbour is feeding your overweight whore of a cat can be upsetting. A new study conducted in California has found that stroking a hairy man provides the same benefits to blood pressure as stroking a pet, with some additional bonus points.
Men are considered more independent than pets. This is generally accepted to be anecdotal, and possibly an old wives tale, but was a basic assumption of the researchers when establishing a control group. Additionally, a survey of 100 women proved that, while men can be an indirect cause of emotional stress, it is mainly self-inflicted and is easily overcome with some positive thinking and a night out with friends involving vodka martinis.
The most important part of this stroking therapy is to choose a suitable man. Experts recommend you avoid both the excesses of Jon Bon Jovi and the sparse scrub of Ricky Martin, venturing instead into the happy hirsute thickets of Tom Selleck and Robert Redford. The stroking motion itself should be a careful, circular action around the chest area. It is very important not to move lower; the Hairy Men research group gathered evidence that men can be highly excitable when stroked unless due care is observed. Similar results can be gained from using either the left or the right hand; further research is being undertaken into suitable positions for using both hands.
Overall the Hairy Men research group concluded that stroking a hairy man once a day can be of great benefit to your health and blood pressure and is a notable relaxation technique. Further plus points include the fact that it's not necessary that a man be for either life or Christmas, it's not necessary to take out insurance on a man, and a man would rather feed himself than eat a handful of dried pellets, thus reducing required levels of maintenance. Best of all, men seem to enjoy the stroking, making this a harmless technique of benefit to all.
Researchers have identified some drawbacks; man hair, like pet hair, can get onto the upholstery, but it tends to be easier to vacuum off the cushions or bedclothes. They do warn that stroking two men simultaneously is best left to the experts, but have not yet conducted research into the results of stroking more than one man consecutively.
The proof is in the pudding - if you want to lower your blood pressure, you should have a stroke today.
© 2006 Gemma Kenny
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gemma Kenny lives
in South East England, where she regularly moans about the weather. Originally
of Irish origin, she took her husband's surname when she married. This
is because it was two letters different to her maiden name and easier