Literature & Scientific Studies on Touch
A touching and inspiring sharing somebody posted as response to Teal's video:
"Hi Teal, hope things are good. Can i share something with you about touch? ... a while ago, People in london dont make a habit of speaking to each other, especially two men waiting at a bus stop. I saw this bloke with a brief case, looking all grey, sad and lifeless. So - - - out of nowhere i find the COURAGE to say "hi mate, do you want a hug?". he was !?! to start with but said "yes please". So we are standing there hugging, i have this guy crying on my shoulder and letting it all out... it was powerful moment. Afterwards he thanked me and said "I go to work, i come back, i go to work again, i havent been touched for 3yrs let alone a handshake". I said "sort it out bro". To this day, if my life means anything in this world it means I saved someones life. I realized he was going to kill himself soon. Yes we need touch, but perhaps the love we seek in others, we need to give that same love to ourselves sometimes."
Human touch is a foundation for our well-being and happiness.
“In recent years, a wave of studies has documented some incredible emotional and physical health benefits that come from touch. This research is suggesting that touch is truly fundamental to human communication, bonding, and health.
Regrettably, though, some Western cultures are pretty touch-deprived. If you go to various other countries, people spend a lot of time in direct physical contact with one another. This has been well-documented.
A study from the 1960s by pioneering psychologist Sidney Jourard, who studied the conversations of friends in different parts of the world as they sat in a café together. He observed these conversations for the same amount of time in each of the different countries.
What did he find?
In England, the two friends touched each other zero times. In the United States, in bursts of enthusiasm, they touched each other twice. But in France, the number shot up to 110 times per hour. And in Puerto Rico, those friends touched each other 180 times!
A review of research, conducted by Tiffany Field, a leader in the field of touch, found that preterm newborns who received just three 15-minute sessions of touch therapy each day for 5-10 days gained 47 percent more weight than premature infants who’d received standard medical treatment.
Similarly, research by Darlene Francis and Michael Meaney has found that rats whose mothers licked and groomed them a lot when they were infants grow up to be calmer and more resilient to stress, with a stronger immune system. This research sheds light on why, historically, an overwhelming percentage of humans babies in orphanages where caretakers starved them of touch have failed to grow to their expected height or weight, and have shown behavioral problems.
There are studies showing that touch signals safety and trust, it soothes. Basic warm touch calms cardiovascular stress. 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.
Proper uses of touch truly have the potential to transform the practice of medicine—and they’re cost effective to boot. For example, studies show that touching patients with Alzheimer’s disease can have huge effects on getting them to relax, make emotional connections with others, and reduce their symptoms of depression.
Touch can even be a therapeutic way to reach some of the most challenging children: Some research by Tiffany Field suggests that children with autism, widely believed to hate being touched, actually love being massaged by a parent or therapist."
- Dacher Keltner, Hands On Research: The Science of Touch -