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Touch is a fundamental communication between people. It allows us to communicate compassion better that words or facial expression.

Touch is the most important element of bonding and compassion between humans.

There are neurochemical effects of skin to skin touch. Compassionate touch is critical for the brain and the body to be healthy. We need human touch to be well.

We need  human touch in order to have good mental health. People who are touch deprived can develop mental illness.

People with mental illness can become worse from a lack of pleasant  physical touch.

Compassionate touch reduces stress hormones, including cortisol. When someone touches your skin in a pleasant way, it makes you feel calmer and safer. Anxious feelings  can be reduced and your nervous system can be calmed. 

People deprived of pleasant physical touch  can develop high levels of stress hormones.

High levels of stress hormones on a regular basis will cause a condition of severe anxiety disorder. Depression is often a condition that goes hand in hand with anxiety disorders.

“When a person receives a pleasing touch, the hormone oxytocin is released in the brain. Oxytocin is linked with human bonding, socializing and maternal instincts. It helps alleviate anxiety and fear and is critical in trust-building. There is even a specialized part of the nervous system in our skin, known as tactile C fibers, that is specialized to pick up compassionate touch.” Pracha Touch

Physical touch can promote healing in the body and reduce the likelihood for disease and illnesses.

This includes both physical and mental illnesses. Insomnia can be relieved by the hormone balancing effect of skin to skin touch that is pleasant.

Some people with mental illness may have been touch deprived as infants and as children.

There is research about the necessity of touch for proper development and growth.

There was research by John Bowlby and Renee Spitz, during WW II, about the effect of touch on infants. Infants that were orphans, living in institutional settings were not held by the caregivers.

The lack of compassionate touch caused a 75% mortality rate. Also, the infants had a lower weight and length than infants of the same age. They did not develop properly due to the lack of being comforted. The compassionate touch of the mother is comforting to an infant and reduces fear and anxiety of the baby.

Babies need to have their nervous systems regulated by the mother. Infants do not  have the capacity to regulate their own nervous systems. Infants even regulate their breathing with their mother’s breathing. Babies that sleep with their mother have a dramatically lower incidence of infant death syndrome.

If the baby forgets to take a breath, the mothers breath on the baby’s face will cause the baby to draw in a breath. The baby will be calmed by the sound of its mother’s heartbeat.

“In some of the most dramatic new findings, premature infants who were massaged for 15 minutes three times a day gained weight 47 percent faster than others who were left alone in their incubators – the usual practice in the past. The massaged infants also showed signs that the nervous system was maturing more rapidly: they became more active than the other babies and more responsive to such things as a face or a rattle.” Daniel Goleman New York Times

The United States is one of the most touch deprived countries in the world. In studies, we come up second to England

In the 1960s, psychologist Sidney Jourard, studied the conversations of friends in different parts of the world. He observed friends as they spent time together in a café.

In England, the two friends touched each other zero times. In the United States, there was an average of 2 touches during the conversation. But in France, the frequency of touch was 110 times per hour. And in Puerto Rico, the friends touched each other an average of 180 times!

It is possible that the mental health crisis in the US has something to do with the fact that we are a “No-touch” culture.

9 thoughts on “”

  1. Once again you’ve described my childhood to a tee.

    I think being deprived of touch as a child, has made me very affectinent as an adult.

    A big problem I face is not touching others when I want to comfort them. Our culture doesn’t find that behavior acceptable. Your even labeled perverted or unstable because of it. It’s no wonder we feel so disconnected from each other.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is a big difference between cultures about physical touch. It is a shame that people are afraid to show normal healthy affection in certain cultures for fear of how it will be perceived. Many people are just touch-deprived because the culture does not approve of normal friendly touch gestures, hugs, hand holding , etc.

      Thank you for taking the time to read. and share.
      Annie ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I defiantly understand touch depervasion. Mother never wanted to touch me, or be touched from me. As an adult that has made me very affectionate, which most people find needy & offensive. I guess that’s why I preferr animals, instead of people.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. 🐇❤💙🌷💜I understand how you feel. I was also brought up with very little affection and hugging.

      I am very physically affectionate with others but I have also noticed what you describe about people possibly misunderstanding.

      You do have to be careful. I was affectionate with the old ladies I used to care for in the nursing home. I used to always give them one kiss on the forehead at bed time.

      I was allowed to hold their hand if they were sad or just to walk with them. Sadly there was rarely enough to just be with them. There is an extreme lack of priority by the people that run the nursing homes about comforting and spending time with the residents.

      Society does not see comfort as part of health care. Even in the schools you have to very careful touching students.

      When I was a teacher I used to have methods of comforting students without holding them when they were sad. I kept a big , soft, light blue stuffed lion in my classroom.

      I told the students it was there in case anyone had a bad day or needed a hug. Many times a student would come to me at the beginning of class and ask if they could hold the lion during class today.

      No one ever made fun of students holding the lion. They were all touch deprived and knew one day they might ask for the lion.

      This was high school.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank You for sharing this insightful and very helpful information. We are physical beings and in touching we physically connect which can help jump start some understanding and compassion between us too! Light and Love, Portia SLB

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I find compassionate touch to be very helpful. My mother was someone who always had a hug ready or would just hold my hand. Since her passing several years ago I find no one else does this unless I ask. I hate asking, I find it embarrassing. I’ve cried when a stranger has touched me in a comforting way. Usually at the doctor’s or health related. It shouldn’t be this way. Luckily my nephews are open with their affection for me. I had to show up without telling anyone today to get my fix of hugs and genuine smiles from 2 little guys too young to be tainted by the world yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing that. I understand what you mean about crying when a stranger touches you in a comforting way. I have felt that way before.

      I also have tried to do the same for others. When I worked in nursing homes and assisted living I often held the hands of residents or kissed them on the forehead when I tucked them into bed.

      I always made sure they had their blankets the way they liked them and their stuffed animal, if they liked it. I could see in their eyes that it mattered and made a difference, even if they could not put their words together due to dementia.

      Some of them liked me to sing them a song at bedtime which was also comforting to them. They were magical moments to me. ❤💙💕🌷

      Liked by 1 person

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