Think back for a moment: when was the last time you experienced the touch from another hand? Perhaps it was yesterday afternoon, a quick handshake between colleagues before an important meeting. Or maybe it was weeks ago as a transient hug between close friends before catching up. But what if we pivot and ask… when is the last time you experienced the power of touch from another human hand that felt nurturing?
As humans, we are hard-wired for touch. Long understood that touch is the first sense babies develop, it’s detrimental to successful mother and baby bonding. The emotional development shapes us through childhood and continues to have a direct impact on our wellbeing as adults. Throughout our lives, connecting through emotional touch remains central to our wellbeing.
As a society, we’ve lived in a touch-deprived world for generations, long before the rise of the Internet. We think of refilling our tanks through solitary care and self-love, but we forget that as humans, we thrive on connection. By connecting with another person and feeling someone’s nurturing touch, we replenish an instinctual need. It has the ability to soothe, calm, and heal while restoring our emotional balance.
But we shouldn’t think of the power of touch being purely physical. Our brain is skilled in deciphering the difference between emotional touch and a non-emotional one. A massage chair will never provide the same wellness boost as having a pair of skillful hands connecting directly with our skin, manipulating our muscles with intent. Our emotions have the ability to communicate through touch, shaping our behavior in early development and transforming our day to day mood.
And while there are countless emotional benefits, helping increase our happiness and wellbeing, the psychological healing power flows much deeper.
Aside from a loving hugs ability to convey social support from our friends, families, and even strangers, nonsexual touch is essential to our livelihood. It has the ability to reduce our stress levels, blood pressure, and cortisol levels in our body. And not only can touch greatly reduce stress in our lives, but it can increase our immune systems ability to fend off illness.
- Babies who receive nurturing touch grow faster with improved mental and motor skill development
- Children raised in a home with more physical interaction gravitate toward being less aggressive and violent
- Those in relationships who cuddle experience lower stress levels, lower blood pressure, and improved immune function
- Elderly people who receive regular touch better handle live happier while accepting the end of a lifecycle
Innately, we know this, we feel it in our core. And yet, more than likely, the majority of people reading this likely feel deprived of their instinctual need. So, how do you go about fixing the problem in your own life? How can you exploit the power of touch for your benefit, all while healing and improving the wellbeing of the person you encounter?
Regardless of whether or not we experienced a nurturing childhood, we can begin our healing transformation by first becoming aware. Not only in gaining awareness surrounding the lack of touch in our lives, but becoming mindful of opportunities to reverse our conditioning surrounding the power of touch.
These moments might look like greeting friends with a hug, touching a stranger on the shoulder as you pass by in a crowded room, or lightly reaching for a hand or arm during a conversation. And possibly a less intimidating opportunity to fill your tank and indulge in the power of touch is by visiting professionals who have made connecting with others their life’s work: estheticians and massage therapists, the keepers of healing hands.
For some, within a months time, the only moment they receive touch from another person is during their beauty treatments. Services like facials, massages, blowouts, and even nail appointments. Let that sink in… are your recurring beauty treatments your main source of regular human connection you experience? Has it become the highlight of your week, soothing frayed nerves while feeling cared for? It’s no wonder we often form deep bonds with those who help us look and feel our best: they’re fulfilling an essential desire we may only recognize on a subconscious level.
Often, beauty treatments are envisioned as being only for the affluent, a pricey once-a-year splurge for the rest of us. Thankfully, there are resources like Spafinder available to help make the power of touch accessible to us all.
Spafinders network of spas and holistic practices provide a variety of affordable options. Not only for gifting touch to a loved one, but to invigorate your own mind, body, and spirit. Many wellness options are available, from pampering spa and salon treatments to alternative therapies like acupuncture and Reiki. Not only is it a treat for the senses, but a chance to find your go-to practitioner to help refill your tank with the healing power of touch on a regular basis.
So, the next time you begin to feel guilty about treating yourself to a wellness boost, remind yourself the benefits go well beyond the surface. You’re nourishing your body, calming your mind, and satisfying your spirit’s innate need for human touch and connection.