Does Human Touch Really Have Restorative Qualities?


Being touched by another human being can cause a person to experience pleasure, pain, reassurance love or compassion. The skin is the largest organ of the human body, but we frequently forget how important the sense of touch can be. There are many different forms of touch therapy in use today; more and more, people are realizing how beneficial a touch can be.

Many studies have been conducted on the body's reaction to being touched and some of the results have been somewhat surprising. Overall, the results in every study concluded that, as long as the touch was not perceived as painful or inappropriate, the effects were overwhelming positive. Some of the positive reactions to being touched by another person, particularly as a result of massage therapy, have been lowered blood pressure; increased blood flow; improved flexibility; less pain in joints and reduced stress.

Massage therapy is frequently much more than simply relaxing the muscles on a sore shoulder or back. There are many different types of massages and different specialties of message therapies. Some of the different types of massage include; Deep Tissue Massage, Swedish Massage, Geriatric Massage, Cranial Sacral Therapy, Prenatal Massage and Trigger Point Therapy, to name only a few. Each form of therapy has its own particular benefit, but all supply an abundance of positive Touches which results in both physical and emotional healing.

Many people who have been deprived of regular amounts of positive human touch, such as holding and hugging or rocking, as an infant, are more prone to emotion problems and physical illnesses as they grow and mature. These people often have problems controlling negative emotions and are prone to outbursts and temper tantrums. They are also prone to high blood pressure, headaches, and gastrointestinal problems such as ulcers and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Americans, more so than people in many other Westernized cultures, have a tendency to avoid giving and receiving touch. While research continues to tell us that touch is beneficial, more and more Americans are becoming Touch Phobic. The results of touch avoidance can be nothing but negative. We have become so fearful of negative attitudes that we are cutting ourselves off from something that is a fundamental part of good mental and physical health.

If we want to grow emotionally as well as physically, we must reintroduce positive touch back into our culture. Shaking hands with people more often, engaging in interactive sports that require close proxiation, hugging family and friends (with permission) and patting a friend on the back are Touches that can provide relief from stress and promote physical health. A simple positive touch can supply an overall feeling of wellbeing in the person being touched. Touching is healing and restorative and something we should all be doing, to ourselves and to others, much more often.

Natashia Penderghast