Quite a few years ago, I recall reading about an orphanage in South America that had a number of infant babies die, all within just a few days of each other. It was later learned that due to limited funds and staffing, many of the infants were not held (touched)- except during necessary tasks like diaper changes, bathing, clothing, and feeding.
My Best Friend’s Precious Angel is here! Baby Isabella Rose at 2 months old pictured above. The slightest touch of mommy’s hand and the peace and pleasure in her eyes is so evident. A perfect example of the importance of touch.
For decades now, studies all over the world have shown that children under 2 (especially) can and will die from lack of touch and stimulation- really astonishing! Nurturing, loving, and caressing are all big parts of survival.
Touch is essential for development and the ability to thrive. This is not limited to infants either! Touch stimulates psychological processes in persons of all ages. It even reduces the incidence for anger and aggression.
According to the Touch Research Institute, touch therapy offers the following positive effects:
- Facilitates weight gain in preterm infants
- Enhances attentiveness
- Alleviates depressive symptoms
- Reduces pain
- Reduces stress hormones
- Improves immune function
Touching is as good for the giver as it is for the recipient. Of course, in a society where we demand ‘personal space’, touching a random person could be a stretch- but reaching out to those we care about and love should be quite simple and a great place to start.
Hold hands, hug more often, and kiss for no apparent reason. Even the slightest pat on the back could do wonders for a person’s spirit!
Yes it sounds cliche, but reach out and touch someone. 🙂