Within the confines of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, a room filled with state-of-the-art medical equipment helps safeguard newborn infants.

Its equipment is lifesaving, but the personal touch provided by a group of volunteers called cuddlers makes this particular NICU something very special.

Participating in a yoga class, getting a massage or receiving a reiki session all resulted in significant improvements in the sense of well-being among cancer patients, according to recent research. However, the patients who received reiki reported a greater reduction in cancer pain than those who received a massage or participated in a yoga class.

Sleep is a wonderful thing, but a lot of people don’t get enough of it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one out of three American adults are not getting enough sleep.

This is problematic. Sleep deprivation is linked to the development of chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and frequent mental distress. We all need to try to get at least seven hours of sleep, but ideally eight — the recommended healthy duration — in 2017.

Every year new scientific studies and facts improve the way people eat, sleep, and work out. And 2016 was no different, as seemingly every week there was even more wellness research being rolled out.

Ready to start the new year off with habits linked to good health, major happiness, and a longer life?

Here are the new health rules, based on what was uncovered in 2016.

1. Eat more fat

No need to give up that avocado toast obsession. The headlines touted that filling up on healthy fats can add years to your life—which might explain the rise of ketogenic eating.

People turn to massage for stress relief, pain alleviation and relaxation, and massage is appropriate for just about anyone—from healthy adults to seniors and pregnant women to athletes. Massage therapy is also safe and beneficial for people living with conditions including cancer, fibromyalgia and arthritis.

This is why treating the people on your gift list to massage makes sense this holiday season. Regular massage clients will know what to look forward to, and for someone who has never had a massage, a gift certificate can make his or her first session more accessible.

Dec 21 marks the Winter Solstice. This is a really important day in Taoist and Shamanic traditions because it marks a critical transition. This is the day where the YIN energy on our planet (Northern hemisphere) is at its highest (longest night) and YANG energy at its lowest (shortest day). [It is the exact opposite for the Southern hemisphere] Essentially, it is the endpoint in the “funnel” or “hour glass” of time as it moves through a 4 dimensional tauroidal field.

Have you had your tires rotated recently? Been to the dentist for a cleaning? There are some appointments you don’t think twice about making—they’re just a part of life. It’s time to think of massage as routine maintenance.

Acupuncture is well known for its ability to lower stress.

Many people use acupuncture for stress reduction—and even those who don’t admit to or notice stress in their lives report a greater sense of lightness and evenness to their moods after having acupuncture.

During the holiday season, many of us could benefit from the stress-reduction benefits of acupuncture. If you can swing going for acupuncture this time of year, do it—regular acupuncture treatments are a fantastic way to stay healthy and emotionally balanced during high-stress times.

You don’t need to travel far to boost your immunity. You can find some items in your local store (or even in your kitchen!) to help bolster your defenses. Dr. Oz shows you how to avoid getting sick with some natural immunity boosters.

Say Goodbye to Sickness

If you're prone to sickness, consider taking larch regularly. A new study found that larch can help reduce the number of colds by 23 percent! You can purchase larch supplements at the pharmacy or health food store. Just be sure to look for the ingredient "larch resist-aid."

Cleanse Your Gut

Up until now acupuncture has rarely been used on children because kids are usually afraid of needles and the process can be terrifying for them. But some creative doctors have started to demonstrate to kids that these needles won’t hurt them by doing acupuncture techniques on the child’s parents first in front of them. This establishes a level of trust between the doctor and young patient.

Recent Studies