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Health, Stress and health, The massage, Touch

The importance of touch

Touch is the most important sense we humans have. It is essential to our well-being and health, our perception of ourselves and our growth. Without touch we would wither away and in extreme cases even die.

In the 13th century Frederic II carried out an experiment to see how children would develop language when denied human contact. They were fed and washed, but all died. A monk of the time documented the experiment and wrote “…for the children could not live without clappings of the hands, and gestures, and gladness of countenance, and blandishments.” This experiment clearly shows how important touch and closeness are to humans.

Studies show that touching releases a hormone named oxytocin into our system, which is one of the hormones that makes people feel good and happy and lowers blood pressure and reduces the level of stress. The hormone can also affects many other things, from how we heal to how we feel about other people.

The skin is our largest organ and touch is our most important senses. Mothers naturally cradle infants, while small children automatically seek out hugs and closeness when they are scared or hurt. Lovers touch each other at every chance they get, and friends share close touch to communicate their support and love.

Studies performed by the Touch Research Institute show clear benefits from touch both physically and mentally. Physically touch and massage can help with a long list of conditions; stress, blood pressure, side effects from cancer treatments, migraines, pain management, pregnancies and more. Massage and touch can also help with anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, behavioural problems in children, PMS, sexual abuse, sleep, smoking and much more.

Touch is not only important for our well-being and health due to the chemical changes in our system, but is also an effective method of communication. Studies show that emotion can be conveyed precisely via touch, and that touch might convey even more positive emotions than the face.

The Touch Research Institute in Miami, FL, has conducted extensive research in the field. Touch and massage has great health benefits and is essential to our well-being, health and emotional development. This again stresses the importance of close physical contact with other people and especially our children.

There are even signs indicating that the lack of touch and connection with other people might be the base cause for emotional disturbances, such as depression, hyperactivity, aggression, violence and even abuse of stimuli such as cigarettes, alcohol, food, shopping and so on. The theory is that the lack of sensory stimulation from touch and physical closeness leads people to seek sensory stimuli by other means.

There is no doubt that touch is essential to us as human beings, both to give touch and to receive touch. And now studies finally clearly confirm that touch not only affects our mood and love for other people, but also has direct health benefits and is a holistic method of supportive healing which works on all levels. Touch in itself is not directly healing, but a gentle loving touch will help the body heal itself and support the emotional state of the person.

Touch is indeed a deep and profound form of communication. A communication that helps the body heal itself and deal with stresses and imbalances. Don’t forget to touch someone today.

Further reading: – The Touch Research Institute

About Pia Poulsen

Pia Poulsen is educated as a wellness massage therapist at Institut FIGARI in Paris, from where she passed her certification exam in January 2008. Since then she has expanded her skills to become the first Advanced LaStone® practitioner in France as well as a certified LaStone® instructor.


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