The Power of Touch

Did you know ... You have approximately fifty touch receptors for every square centimeter of skin and about 5 million sensory cells in your body. Each of these 5 million cells crave touch. If you have ever wondered why the human touch is so comforting, it is because we are designed to receive it and to give it. As a matter of fact, infants who do not receive touch rarely survive infancy. Furthermore, the amount of touch an infant receives is directly related to the baby's brain size potential.

The Power of Touch

In her article, The importance of touch: Hugs and massages may be key to your health and well-being, Sharon Gray, an Eons contributor explains, "Our sense of touch works via sensory receptors in the skin and deeper tissues. They are located in varying density over the body, but most densely in our fingertips. These receptors transmit signals to the spinal cord and brain stem." In the same article, Dr. Tiffany Field, director of The Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine, the world's first center devoted solely to the study of touch and its application in science and medicine, explains, "Touch is as important as breathing. Without it, children do not grow and develop."

Why is touch so important?

The amazing thing about touch is that it is simultaneously reciprocal. The person giving the touch benefits equally as the person being touched. When we give and receive touch we release a powerful chemical called oxytocin which in turn interacts with a feel good chemical in our brain called dopamine. According to Gray, "Oxytocin is one of those happy hormones that helps to lower blood pressure and stress levels, and can affect everything from how wounds heal to how much we trust other people." Indeed, oxytocin is often referred to as the Love Chemical because of its powerful effects.

Unfortunately, attitudes toward touch vary radically across the world. While it is common for Asian and Arabic men to hold hands and French and Italian men to kiss, American men are socially required to keep a "safe" distance from one another. Remember when President Bush was "caught on tape" holding the hand of Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah? This gesture was actually a display of deep respect, yet it made all the late night comedy shows that evening. Even my recent blog, The Daily Turn On! Get touchy-feely, generated much controversy and sneers from those who fear touch and therefore make fun of those who believe in its power. But, touch is not a exclusively sexual expression, nor is it an expression exclusive to human. Touch is an expression of devotion, respect and love shared with many species around the world and has provided healing and comfort to living beings since the beginning of time.

Awaken your senses ...Life a fit life!

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