Scientists have revealed why getting your nails done is good for your health.
Research has long shown that a visit to the manicurist produces feelings of relaxation and euphoria, and significantly reduces anxiety.
Previous studies have suggested that these feel-good effects come from mood-enhancing brain chemicals that are released when we come into contact with human touch.
But new findings seem to show that the health benefits are due to something entirely different.
In fact, it’s the result of “superficial self-disclosure,” also known as the happy talk at the nail salon, according to a new study.
Researchers from two universities in Japan surveyed 500 women to find out the psychological effects of getting their nails done.
Study author Atsushi Kawakubo, an associate professor at Saitama Gakuen University, told PsyPost: “Our research suggests that engaging in nail care in the salon, along with a slight openness to oneself, can provide a positive boost to the psychological state”.
About 300 women regularly went to a beauty salon and the rest got their nails done at home or not at all.
Participants then rated the degree to which they experienced various emotions and attitudes during a nail care session on a four-point scale, from “not at all” to “a lot.”
Women who came in for manicures were also asked about the content and quality of their conversations with manicurists and clients.
The results showed that those who had their nails done in a salon experienced significantly more positive emotions, such as relaxation, compared to those who did it themselves at home.
Most intriguingly, the topic of conversation with other people during the date affected the mood of the participants.
Superficial self-disclosure, which the researchers defined as discussions about hobbies and everyday life, was associated with increased positive emotions, but deeper self-disclosure, related to negative personality traits and life difficulties, had a negative impact on certain psychological outcomes.
Study author Atsushi Kawakubo, an associate professor at Saitama Gakuen University, said PsyPost: ‘Our research suggests that engaging in nail care in the salon, along with a slight openness to oneself, can provide a positive boost to the psychological state.
“This practice offers a tangible way for people to promote their mental well-being, emphasizing the importance of self-care and the potential benefits of sharing personal thoughts in a comfortable environment.”
The researchers emphasize that more research is needed to draw firm conclusions: there was no control group and the data were self-reported.