Skip to Navigation

Touch – the ability to feel and connect through the skin – has been called ‘The mother of all the senses’. It is, according to Ashley Montagu, “the foundation upon which all other senses are based”.

Touching produces emotion, but its necessity for human wellbeing goes much deeper, for it activates the nervous system and development at a cellular level. In other words we have a biological need to be touched, and without it we wither.

Babies that are deprived of human contact fail to thrive and many die (as tragically shown in neo-natal units and orphanages that had a policy of no touching in a misguided attempt to prevent contagion). Experiments with young mammals have confirmed that presence and contact with the mother is essential for orderly and healthy growth.

The essential point here is that touch between humans is not a ‘nice to have’, it is an absolute necessity for wellbeing, balance and development. It doesn’t just make us feel, it also helps regulate the parasympathetic nervous system (which promotes healthy cardiac rhythms and resistance to stress and depression, among other things).

This vital need is life-long, it doesn’t fade away when we leave childhood; adults need cuddling too.

References

Montagu, A., (1986) 3rd Ed, Touching; The Human Significance of the Skin, Harper & Row Publishers, New York.

Servan-Schreiber, D., (2005), Healing Without Freud or Prozac; Natural Approaches to Curing Stress, Anxiety and Depression, Rodale, London.

What do you think? Share your thoughts...

Latest from the blog

Christmas Survival Reminder

Christmas survival

Christmas should be fun, but it’s easy to get swept up in ‘Xmas traction’, and lose sight of the things you value most about it. If you celebrate Christmas, here’s how to keep it in perspective, so you don’t lose track!

Continue reading
FREE DOWNLOAD - Get it now.

How to be more Resilient

Get my super-helpful guide '9 Steps to Resilience' absolutely FREE, when you subscribe to my newsletter.

Understand the steps to resilience and you can develop the ability to cope with problems and setbacks with less stress and more confidence.
close-link
%d bloggers like this: