Staying In Touch

As a society we have gotten further and further from some of the basic things we know bring about betterment and health in our lives. With the growth of technology, as well as the recent pandemic, we have seen a major decline in socialization and most especially in human-to-human direct interaction. Physical contact with other people is essential to our health and well-being, though should be done safely and with consideration for spread of any contagion. Touch has profound effects on our neurocircuitry. Studies have shown that touch can slow our heart rate, lower blood pressure, decrease stress hormones, and trigger the release of oxytocin, which helps with emotional bonding. Those who have a lack of touch in their lives are more likely to suffer from immune dysfunction.

Here are some ways we can experience the benefits of touch in our lives:

1. See your local massage therapist: Massage is an excellent way to get the benefits of human touch, soothe sore muscles, and improve blood and lymphatic flow. Our lymphatic system is highly important for immunity, fat soluble nutrient assimilation, and detoxification.

2. Hug your family and friends: Dan Pearce expressed this sentiment perfectly when he wrote, “Some moments can only be cured with a big squishy grandma hug.”

3. Consider a pet: Studies have shown that pets can bring about some of the same benefits as human-to-human touch if you spend time petting them.

4. Go to your local hair salon: Getting your hair washed along with a scalp massage is a great way to get the benefits of touch and look your best.

5. Take a dance class: Many dance styles, especially partner dances like salsa or tango, involve touch and are a great way to get moving and stay active.

There are many other ways to bring more touch in our lives or even simulate touch (weighted blankets, massage chairs, etc.) to convey some of the benefits. As a Naturopathic physician extensively trained in many physical medicine modalities, I’ve come to recognize the many direct therapeutic benefits and disease-preventing aspects of hands-on spinal manipulation and cranio-sacral therapies. If we desire to touch the hearts of others and to refrain from being out of touch with the world around us, we need real touch in our lives.

“Tis the human touch

in this world that counts,

The touch of your hand and mine,

Which means far more

to the fainting heart

Than shelter and bread and wine.

For shelter is gone

when the night is o’er,

And bread lasts only a day.

But the touch of the hand

And the sound of the voice

Sing on in the soul always.” – Spencer M. Free

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Mederi Center

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