The Power of Touch

It is hard to go to sleep at night when you are angry with your spouse, especially if you are trying to stay on your side of the bed. I’ve tried it occasionally.

Recently, I had an idea for a column about touch–the importance of feeling human touch. The idea came to me while I was having a massage to help relieve some very tense muscles in my neck. Lying on my stomach with my face resting downward in a doughnut hole pillow, my shoulders began to relax as skilled hands targeted the muscles running from my neck to my shoulders. The warm soothing oil gently washed away little drops of stress with each stroke administered by the experienced therapist. The low key instrumental music playing quietly in the background was a cue to let myself go, and relax. I tried to make my mind go blank, but my thoughts went to all the people who spend days, weeks and even months without ever feeling the touch of a human hand on their arm or shoulders. I recalled an article I read where a woman talked about not having any human contact after her husband died. She said she would go to the beauty salon to get her hair washed just so she could feel the physical contact with another person.

It is hard to go to sleep at night when you are angry with your spouse, especially if you are trying to stay on your side of the bed. I've tried it occasionally. Recently, I had an idea for a column about touch--the importance of feeling human touch. The idea came to me while I was having a massage to...

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Touch is so important. Sometimes people sink into depression because they miss the touching hands of their companion. Medically, therapeutic massages can be especially beneficial to seniors, from those with depression, arthritis, diabetes, circulatory problems and high blood pressure to those with headaches, stiff joints and sore backs. In fact, 28 percent of all massage patients last year were 55 years old or older, according to national statistics. Massage therapy reduces the heart rate and lowers blood pressure, increases blood flow and relieves joint and body stiffness and it also releases endorphins, which act as a natural painkiller in the bloodstream.

The benefit of human touch has also been proven in studies that have shown infants and children who are touched thrive and survive painful procedures more quickly than those who are not touched or held. But, you don’t have to be an older person or a child to benefit from touch. Occasionally on a stressful day, someone will pat my back or touch my arm and I can feel the tension slip away. Research shows that touch can communicate multiple positive emotions: joy, love, gratitude, and sympathy.

Of course, there are all sorts of directions a writer can go with a subject as large as touch. That’s why I needed to get on the Internet. I needed to do some research. However, when I tried to sign on, the system kept hanging up. I blamed my husband for downloading too much information that slowed the computer.

As silly as it was, I went to bed irritated at him. He knew I was angry so he settled in on his side to let me get over it. I wrapped the blanket around me, pulled my pillow under my chin and tried to settle down and go to sleep. However, after tossing and turning for an hour, I realized my best research might be lying right there beside me. Sure enough, when I turned over and wrapped my arms around him, I went sound asleep.

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Deana Landers
Author for Morningcoffeebeans.com

Deana Landers has had many roles in life — Pastor’s Wife , Nurse/Health Educator, Writer and Motivational Speaker ... more