Breakthrough Patient Recruitment

: Touch is Important. Do You Know Why?

Touch is Important. Do You Know Why?

Global Content Strategist

I recently got a massage. I rarely treat myself in this way, but it was a good opportunity to release tension I have accumulated in my body over time. As I was laying on the massage table, I sensed a calming effect and relaxed into the moment. When I walked out of the spa, I started thinking about the nature of touch and its importance in our daily lives.

Touch

 

I decided to do a little bit of research to learn more. A quick online search revealed that touch is the first sense we acquire. It can thus be considered our first language. And because we cannot touch without being touched, it is essential that we understand its various roles. Let's take a closer look.

Touch is a non-verbal language

Many of us think of language as the words we say or write. But research shows that most of our interpersonal communication is actually non-verbal and that touch is a key player in our interactions with other people. Researchers have long studied and documented the complex emotions that our posture, motions, and expressions reveal. Indeed, we appear to be wired to interpret the touch of our fellow humans. If touch is a language, it seems we instinctively know how to use it. But, as with many instinctual things, touch is a skill most of us take for granted.

Touch is a beneficial two-way street

In terms of positive touch, it does not matter if you are doing the touching or if you are the recipient of the action. There are many beneficial physiological consequences of touch. The person touching may (through for instance, a hug) indicate appreciation, inclusion, or positive intent of their actions. As the recipient's oxytocin levels rise, his or her heart rate may decline. The Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami links touch to many benefits: better sleep, reduced irritability, and increased sociability (among infants). A parent's touch enhances the bond with a child; it can signify security. In romantic relationships, touch is one of the most fundamental way of communicating intimacy.

Touch is a skill to appreciate and to keep developing as we go through our lives. As the science suggests, we are " wired to-we need to-connect with other people." My post-massage revelation and my everyday interactions (e.g., handshakes, pats on the back, hugs) have convinced me of the essential role touch plays in our lives. 

 

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