While most people have a positive neurochemical response to compassionate touch, some people have had their normal response damaged. If touch is associated with abuse the brain may become trained to release stress hormones when the person is touched in any way.
People that have been sexually or physically abused may have severe anxiety when they are touched by another person. This is due to an adaptation of the brain in order to protect the person from harm. Instead of releasing oxytocin and other feel good chemicals , the brain will release stress hormones such as cortisol into the body , in response to touch.
If you notice that someone cringes at a pat on the shoulder or pulls back when people get close to them, it is best to respect their right to deny any physical contact. Forcing a triggering event onto someone can cause them extreme distress and…
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