I was the first born and very much wanted, into a family of three children. When I was young, every morning before school, I’d lay in bed waiting quietly till Mom’s soft hand touch my forehead. Gently, she would push my hair away from my eyes and say, “Wake up Honey.”
The softness of her hand and voice was so important to me then. It was the hand and voice of love.
The need for touch is important throughout our whole life and doesn’t diminish with age. But there is so much more to touch than it generally feels good. Humans and animals need to touch and be touched, just like we need food and water. Touch seems to be regarded as a nonspecific kind of thing. We can make each other roll over with laughter from touch or be put to sleep with touch.
More and more, today, people are searching for paths that offer relaxation, greater self-esteem, robust health and well being that can only be acquired through the power of touch. Touch is the primary factor among massage therapists, holistic health practitioners, reflexologists, Reiki masters, etc. It generally feels good to have another human being’s skin come into contact with our own. Touching can reassure us, relax us, comfort us or arouse us like nothing else. The importance of touch is so basic that we tend to take it for granted, just like we do breathing.
In many ways, the other senses come up short when compared to the power of touch, according to Dr. Schanberg M. D., Ph.D, a professor of pharmacology and biological psychiatrist at Duke University. “Touch is essentially more varied that our visual or auditory senses.” he says. “Think how hard it is to make yourself relax using just your eyes or your ears. Yes, you can play your favorite music. Or you can gaze at a relaxing scene. But when someone who is really good, gives you a 20 minute massage, you have a hard time getting off the table.”
Dr. Schanberg also mentions, “ Whatever you might see won’t compare to ten seconds of the right touch. And as for pain, no matter how much you think a shrill sound or shocking image could make you grimace–forget it. There’s nothing that’ll compare to one stiff jab.”
So, is touch important to us? Absolutely. Is it appreciated? Not nearly enough.
How about you? Do you feel you get enough touch in your life?
I will be sharing more about this topic in upcoming posts.