There have been positives during the lockdowns, such as families spending more time together. But…
5. The Healing Power of Touch
Haven’t we all missed being touched, hugged or simply the feel of someone’s hand on our arm over the last year during Covid restrictions? We have been deprived of this basic human connection and sensory stimulation for too long! But behind the scenes it has allowed for a lot of research into the science of the power of positive touch.
CT Afferent Nerves
Positive touch activates nerve endings (called CT afferent nerves) that lie just under the skin. These nerves communicate with the brain which in turn releases Oxytocin – a hormone that promotes trust, empathy, bonding cues, positive memories and communication. It is known as the “feel good” hormone – and it’s easy to understand why, when you know what it does.
If we are feeling more positive and upbeat this has a knock- on effect on the other hormones. Our Vagus nerve tells the body that we are safe and so your sleep and digestion improve and your immune system is strengthened. We have more energy to exercise, complete those tasks we have put off and this also makes you feel better. It becomes a positive circle.
To stimulate the CT afferent nerves we need to hug for 20 seconds or more. So if we have someone we can hug, do so – and hold on! If you’re on your own wrap your arms around yourself and hold on for 20 seconds then slowly stroke down your arms.
Warm baths, soft fabrics against your skin, a foot or shoulder rub, stroking a pet – all this will help.
It sounds simple but it will have a powerful effect – and when you can, book yourself a soothing health promoting massage. You deserve it!
- The BBC’s Touch Test
- European Shiatsu Congress – lecture by Rita Griesche on Mindful Touch
- Stephen Porges on the Vagus nerve