I came across this recently:
“Massage therapy has been shown to reduce aversion to touch and to decrease anxiety, depression and cortisol levels in women who have been sexually or physically abused (Field, et. al., 1997).” (reference)
In one study, women received 45-minute massages five times a week for a month. Before and after tests showed reduced stress, lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels, and improvement in immune system function. In bulimic teenage girls, massage twice a week for 5 weeks reduced depression and anxiety, and improved body image. Other studies have shown massage improves serotonin and dopamine levels, reduce disruptive behaviour in children, and improves sleep in those with post-traumatic stress syndrome. Massage has also been shown to connect the one giving the massage and the one receiving, reducing mistrust and building a sense of safety and security.
The point of all this is massage is extremely powerful, well beyond what most of us will ever understand. Massage can do more to build intimacy with your wife than books, seminars, or hours of communication could ever do. It may take time, but if you can regularly give her a non-sexual massage, it will make a change – in both of you. Start small by doing her feet and hands. Do a number of short massages if she won’t go for longer ones.