The era of touch deprivation Have you received a pat on the back today? Or given one? Did you hug anyone today? The Power of Touch can give you numerous health benefits way beyond just making you feel good about something you’ve done. Being touched or establishing physical connections has the ability to boost the […]
Have you received a pat on the back today? Or given one? Did you hug anyone today?
The Power of Touch can give you numerous health benefits way beyond just making you feel good about something you’ve done. Being touched or establishing physical connections has the ability to boost the immune system, help you heal faster and relieve stress.
Dr. Peter Andersen, a professor of non-verbal communication at the San Diego State University finds that people limit their daily one-on-one contact with acquaintances probably because of known social rules. For example, work policies that do not allow touching between workmates. Let’s not forget that we have all more or less turned digital. According to Anderson, “Modern society and technology have introduced even more reasons for us NOT to touch.”
Tiffany Field, PhD, director of the Touch Research Institute in Miami refers to this as “Touch Deprivation”, new phenomenon on the rise, especially for single and loner workaholics. Even married or people in relationships are vulnerable to this according to Dr Matthew Hertenstein, the author of The Tell: “The Little Clues That Reveal Big Truths About Who We Are”.
The moment a person gives you a welcome touch, your skin receptors react by sending a message to your brain and adrenal glands, which in turn instantly reduce your body’s production of cortisol, a common stress hormone. Lower cortisol rates mean lower blood pressure and heart rate, better immune system, lower insulin level- definitely anti-ageing – so think about it twice before acting shy. As what Dr Hertenstein said, “Touch is a much more sophisticated system than we ever realized.”
Touch triggers your “relaxation response”, which in turn induce the production of your feel good hormones: serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin. Touch treatment has thus positive responses in mental issues. The more you touch, the more you feel positive about your outlook in life.
Over a hundred studies clearly show a link between touch and reduced pain. According to research, touch has been demonstrated to help women who suffer from headaches, to improve the condition of cancer patients and induce a faster growth rate in premature babies.
Blake Eastman, from the Nonverbal Group in New York City, says that “touch can quickly increase a sense of personal connection between the toucher and the touchee.” Contact then, especially in relationships, is as important as ever. Aside from showing your love and devotion to your partner, intimate touching can also be a way for your body to produce beta endorphins for skin repair. Touching your partner as often as possible will make you look and feel younger than ever!
Touch, like diet and exercise should be a part of your daily routine. Take a look at your daily activities and chart out how much non-sexual one-on-one touch contact you have in a day. If you feel that you haven’t been touching anybody – not even the people close to you, get a massage, try reiki or acupuncture. You may even do things yourself: Scrubbing with loofah, rolling your feet or your hands over a stress ball or even just your nightly application of skin lotion can be transformed into a self-massage. Try to do these for about 15 minutes a day using moderate pressure.
The best way of course will always be “touch” with other people, or pets! Hug your friends, family and, if relevant, your partner every day. Hold hands with your partner constantly or massage each other’s backs before going to bed. This is so relaxing and stress relieving after a long day.
Be mindful off respecting other’s space when touching. Always stay within a touch appropriate zone. In the workplace, a pat on the back or a high five is okay. Be cautious and review your company’s guidelines.
Writes about nutrition, health and wellness. Currently on an Action Plan to place in a triathlon by 2016.
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