The positive effects of human touch

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Living In Balance logoIn today’s society we are all in some way a little afraid to touch one another. Too many news stories over the years of creepers and “bad touch” have led to a NO touch society here in America. This saddens me. I remember when my kids were little and my hubby requested that I be the dugout “mom” to help the little guys and girls with tying of shoes, tucking in of shirts or any bumps and bruises that may happen. He did not want anyone to see him touch a child and think it was inappropriate. How sad that a man who loves coaching kids has to worry that a pat on the back after a good hit, or a hug after strike-out, could be construed as being “inappropriate.”

Numerous studies have been done showing all of the positive benefits of touch: The immune response is found in the skin and benefits from receiving a lot of touch to living longer; the increases in weight in premature babies when touched more; there is greater involvement from children in class when a teacher gives a child a pat on the back or a touch on the hand; Touch has been shown to calm patients with Alzheimer’s and children with autism.

This article by Dacher Keltner has lots of info regarding the power of touch.

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The social functions of touch:

  1. Provides feeling of reward
  2. Reinforces reciprocity
  3. Signals safety
  4. Sooths
  5. Promotes cooperation

As a massage therapist, I also consider myself a touch therapist. It sounds more “woo woo” when I say touch therapist but I notice a difference in my clients after a massage. They are more relaxed and calm. They have come back exclaiming how more focused they feel days after, that they sleep better and can handle stress better.

Power of human touch: Nothing short of magic.
Power of human touch: Nothing short of magic.

All of these benefits from a kind touch, one focused on empathy, compassion and caring.

Yes, we all need to be respectful of a person’s “bubble space” and their boundaries but a firm shake of the hand, a pat on the back, a hug to a crying child, all have benefits for our society. I have been around those “touchy” families and “non-touchy” families and observed a difference. I am sure you have too. Those who hug and touch sure seem happier and more expressive with one another. Try a little experiment and just make a small effort to touch a little more and see how you feel. It may make a positive change in your life.

lisa pooleLisa Poole has been a licensed New Hampshire Massage Therapist since 2011. She is the owner of Peaceful Strength Massage Therapy located in Manchester, NH. She has an Associate of Science degree in Exercise Science with 10 years experience as a personal trainer. She worked for a major insurance carrier for more than eight years and has a great appreciation for the stresses of working behind a computer for 8 hours a day.

Lisa is a lifelong resident of New Hampshire. A parent of two boys (young men), and is married to her high school sweetheart. Exercise and wellness are tremendously important to her. Personal experience has taught her the importance ofScreen Shot 2015-11-08 at 8.42.13 AMbalance between family, job and fitness. Lisa’s goals are to share her knowledge, help make people feel better and lead healthier lives.


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