Touch is essential to communication, bonding and health. Without it, adults can experience anger, depression, isolation, low self-esteem and violent behavior. However, infants can literally die from touch deprivation aka touch hunger. So how can you begin the New Year feeling all the compassion and love you not only desire, but are wired to experience?
Scientists who study human behavior as well as those who study disease and mortality have questioned the affects of touch and the lack there of. What they discovered regarding touch receptors and how they message the brain is astounding. But even beyond the elaborate messaging exchange that takes place which causes humans to respond in a myriad of ways; new research has uncovered how mental health and recovery from sickness is impacted by touch.
Humans need to connect with one another in order to live optimally. Adults are likely to start dropping like weeds anytime soon from touch hunger; but it is clear that we don’t show up fully in relationships or in social setting when we are touch deprived. In the United States, this is especially true. A well documented study in the 1960’s by psychologist Sidney Jourard observed friends having casual conversations in a café in England or the United States touched 0-2 times in an hour. In France and Puerto Rico, one hour of casual conversation with friends produced 110 – 180 touches. Subjects in France and Puerto Rico appeared to be more happy and healthy.
You don’t have to be a scientist to know about the healing power of touch. Simply go without it for a while and you will find yourself seeking substitutes from blankets to pets. We need touch. We crave touch and will do crazy things to get it. Here are three ways to easily add more touch and well-being in your life in the New Year.
- Include massage into your daily self-care practice. When in the shower take the time to set an intention for healing and well-being for yourself as you massage your scalp and work your way down to your feet.
- Become active in a spiritual community where you can experience hugs and compassionate touch in a safe space with like minded people.
- Seek out live classes, workshops, seminars and retreats that focus on personal development and holistic health. The participants are usually healthy lifestyle enthusiasts who honor loving, nurturing touch for life.
Author and Certified Holistic Health Coach Versandra Kennebrew teaches The Art of Touch, an eclectic range of human activities in which the artist creates from his or her imagination and four simple movements, sensory masterpieces intended to be appreciated for their emotional power and beauty.
She is the resident holistic health and life coach on Night Watch Expressions WRFG 89.3 FM Atlanta where she brings a weekly Health & Healing Chronicles moment that empowers listeners on their journey to optimal health and healing. To learn more, or to register for upcoming classes or workshops visit http://www.vki.eventbrite.com.
Share how you add more healthy, loving, nurturing touch in your relationships and your life in the comment section below.