Are you a touching / hugging person ?
Hugs and physical touch are very beneficial for our health: they reduce stress and relax us, lower our blood pressure and improve our mood which help to boost our immune system, balance our hormones and speed up our metabolism (we need for a successful weight loss).
And for us, ladies, who are full of emotions, what can be more important than a touch of a person we love or care? Hmmm, well, maybe a nice gift or two… But I think it depends on our age as well as our perceptions and expectations from our life, our partner, etc.
According to Gary Chapman, the author of “The Five Love Languages” we can speak different languages to our partners, and one of them is “Physical Touch” Language – you speak it if you truly believe that our bodies are for touching and would prefer human touch to gifts, help, etc.
So, do you speak Physical Touch language?
Or you are experiencing lack of physical touch in your life right now? If so, let’s change that!
I’d like to share with you an extract from the article “The Need for Touch – The Importance of Human Touch in Our Lives” by Fred Krazeise, Certified Massage Therapist, Intrinsic Coach, with an integrative health care practice focusing on women’s health and shock / trauma recovery.
...We crave touch from the very moment we are born. We learn through touch. It’s where we first develop feelings of attachment and self-esteem. The act of receiving nurturing touch makes us feel safe; it comforts us, and lets us know that we are loved.
Unfortunately, in America, we seem to be very uncomfortable with touch. And I am not for a minute suggesting that we all abandon our personal boundaries, but we don’t have to always apologize when we accidentally intrude upon another persons “space.”
Consider how touch is used in other parts of the world. Throughout Europe, it is common for women to walk down the street arm-in-arm. In many parts of the world, men and women alike exchange a kiss on both cheeks as the common form of greeting. In Greece it is common for men to dance, arm-in-arm (and it’s not just induced by too much Ouzo!).
Sadly here in the US, we restrict our hugs to that “all-American A-frame,” bent over at the waist, touching only the upper parts of our bodies. And what about those “air kisses?” What is it with that?
Touch connects us to our own humanity, and nurturing touch improves our well-being. Consider this:
- A study was conducted at a major university library. Librarians were instructed alternately to touch and not touch the hands of students as they handed back their library cards. Then the students were interviewed. Those who had been touched reported far greater positive feelings about themselves, the library, and the librarians than those who had not been touched. This occurred even though the touch was fleeting and the students didn’t even remember it.
- According to Adoption.com, Studies conducted in orphanages and hospitals tell us that infants deprived of skin contact will lose weight, become ill and may even die. Premature babies given periods of touch therapy gain weight faster, cry less, and show more signs of relaxed pulse, respiration rate and muscle tension.
- Marriage and family counselors report that that couples in crisis are most likely to have stopped the simple everyday kind of touch that is crucial to a healthy relationship. I am not talking about sexual contact. I’m talking about simple hugs, a caress – soft, loving, nurturing touch that we all so desperately need and want.
As we grow older, we receive less and less touch. We have rationalized that touch is no longer important. We’re adults now. We’re suppos ed to be tough. Sadly, we may come to associate touch exclusively with sexuality, and we forget that as adults we still need touch as much as we did when we were children. Unfortunately, the elderly are the least touched group in our society. They receive less touch because they are more likely to be living alone.
Simple, loving, human touch can:
o Reduce anxiety and stress
o Promote peace of mind
o Improve our focus and promote a state of mental alertness
o Enhance our ability to think creatively but calmly
o Promote a feeling of being cared for and nurtured
o Help fight off disease by stimulating the immune system
o Improve our sense of body image
So I ask you to look for ways to increase the amount of touch in your life. How? Here are a few ideas.
- If you are in a relationship, talk to your partner about your need for touch. If you feel that something is lacking or needs to be changed, change it. Take the initiative. Reach out spontaneously and hold hands. Hold a hug longer than usual. Share a back rub, or foot massage.
- Don’t be shy. Ask for touch. It’s totally ok to say to a friend or loved one, “I need a hug.” And it’s also ok to ask a friend or loved one, “Would you like a hug?” You’ll be surprised at how many people will say yes…
Let us be touch and hug smart, shall we?
And don’t forget to breathe, smile and be happy while touching or hugging.
©Irina Wardas, HHC
Women’s Holistic Health Coach and Counselor