The Power of Touch

For many of us, every day touch, be it a handshake, a pat on the back or a kiss on the cheek is something that we might take for granted. But for someone suffering, be it the emotional pain of loss or a physical struggle with disease, the experience of kind touch can be profound.

Just think about this. Touch, unlike our other senses, is experienced all over our body. Touch is the most developed of all our senses when we are newborns. And many innate reflexes of baby are stimulated by touch:

Root reflex. This reflex begins when the corner of the baby’s mouth is stroked or touched. The baby will turn his or her head and open his or her mouth to follow and “root” in the direction of the stroking. This helps the baby find the breast or bottle to begin feeding

But to comforted a crying baby, to hug a frightened friend or to hold the hand of someone in pain is to understand that touch extends far beyond innate stimulation. Touch is fundamental to our emotional well-being and kind touch can greatly impact our physical health.

Science has shown that the power of touch can:

  • lower blood pressure and heart rate
  • increase immune function
  • relieve pain

According to Dr. Tiffany Field, Ph.D

when you stimulate the pressure receptors under the skin, the heart slows down, food in the gastrointestinal tract is absorbed in to the body better and serotonin is released in to the blood stream. When that happens you decrease pain…Touch can even stimulate the body to better equip its natural killer cells to fight off bacterial infections and even more health threats such as cancer

Distress, fear and pain are common for cancer patients and the power of touch has the tools to help relieve these symptoms.

You have the power to impact the health of someone suffering with your touch.

With your touch you have a gift to give that can make the difference in someone’s life.

Merry Christmas!


References

  1. https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=newborn-reflexes-90-P02630
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27482166 
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18794556
  4. https://insights.ovid.com/pubmed?pmid=28181973
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3107905/