The Power of Touch
Think of the one person you feel the most bond and connection with. Most often then not, the "bubble" of comfortable space you need with this person is smaller than what you would need with a stranger. Now, remember a moment when you shared a loving and nurturing touch with that person. That feeling is just as necessary as the water we drink in a day.
Recent research has shown that loneliness is as bad or worse than smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Our culture here in the U.S. is that of independence. It's an idea that we can do all things by ourselves. First, that is a completely false idea. We are interconnected whether we like it or not. Second, it's just not healthy. It goes against how our body is wired. Although being independent in certain areas of our lives is a good thing, too much of it can be isolating and cause dis-ease in the body. What comes with isolation is less touch in our daily lives. We are a species that need to be with others and to touch each other...and no, not in the creepy way.
Regular touch increases a sense of wellbeing. For example, premature babies gained more weight when they had touch therapy while still in the hospital. On a more physiological level, it increases cardiovascular health. And "it activates the body’s vagus nerve, which is intimately involved with our compassionate response, and a simple touch can trigger release of oxytocin, aka “the love hormone.” The more happy and calm we feel, the more clarity we have in our life and we feel more fulfilled.
Unfortunately, we live in a society where certain people take advantage of touch and use it in an inappropriate and harmful way. A person who receives this type of interaction could become fearful of touch. Every one of us has our own level of boundaries with physical touch and we must respect that. It's in these situations where finding a safe person to hold a hand, or give a hug is so important. It's in the hard moments of life; in grief, trauma, sadness, depression, where touch can be so healing and help us feel less alone.
If you find yourself in an isolated living situation either by choice or not, it's a great idea to get regular massages so you can experience the power of touch. It's in our human nature.