The Healing Power of Touch
Touch is the first sensation we feel when we come into this world. A child’s mental, emotional and physical well-being initially depends a lot on a tender touch. Doctors insist on a newborn baby being placed immediately on the mother’s bosom to feel her heartbeat and to experience the gentle touch of her arms around the body. This helps the child gain a profound sense of security and it later helps in developing their self-esteem, as an adult.
Touch is a very important sensation for human beings to gain a sense of healthy emotional responses later in life. Every child learns the sensation of love and tenderness first with his mother’s touch. Even plants and animals respond to touch. They grow well, feel nurtured and cared for when they are touched. We bring animals into our homes and call them a pet. The word pet is all about petting, touching, indulging and caring.
Touch is the nourishment for our soul. Touch releases the endorphins in the brain and essentially helps us feel good. Ever wondered how a quiet touch conveys more to a grieving person than many words of solace? Personally speaking, I feel absolutely at loss with words when I come across a grieving person. I feel that how could words, no matter how right they are, calm the heart torn asunder with grief?
However, I have found on a few occasions that just placing a quiet hand on the shoulder or gently caressing the hand of a person broken down with emotional pain, calm the sobs to a great extent. It sends across the silent message that you care and empathize with them in their pain. I have experienced that they almost always become quiet in their wailings and give in to a more healthy response of shedding quiet tears.
And Psychologists say that to give yourself the permission to cry heartily is to bless your body with the benediction of healing. When a person is frozen with grief and shock, a touch brings on the healing response. They begin to cry, and it lifts them off the dry rocks of their sudden distress.
Touch calms anger, grief, and aggression. It brings on healthy tears, stops unchecked and hysterical tears and helps a person gain a balanced perspective on many difficult situations. No words are required when touch is used to convey messages of compassion.
It is observed that more often than not those who are acting hysterical respond to a quiet touch. Though, generally speaking, we as people stay away from such a person. Feeling that they might react violently, but unless a person is medically declared a psychotic, most aggression changes into quietness with a gentle touch.
We all are inherently programmed to receive and give touch to each other. Without touch, relationships fail to blossom, not just among lovers, but between parent and child too. We all know how a crying child responds instantaneously to the touch of his mother and becomes quiet immediately. How we are told to hug our children to help them grow into emotionally healthy and caring persons in life. Most failing marriages lack the right touches and need the right touch to set it right!
Often when Psychoanalysts talk about troubled childhood and children having grown up with baggages that are at times too hard a burden to carry for their inner world, it is about the lack of proper nurturing and touching as children. Often neglected by a distant father and unloving mother the boys grow up without love and affection for a woman and are unable to commit fully to other relationships in their lives later.
Without getting into the convoluted discussion of troubled childhood and its impact on an adult, lets just sum it up and say that it is the lack of touch, hug and caress in the childhood that creates an intense sense of separateness in a child and they grow up feeling a deeply disturbing loneliness almost all through their lives.
Mother Teresa discovered the power of touch when she said that more than hunger, poverty and physical suffering it is the lack of love, which make people die every day. She used to touch the lepers and bathe their wounds with her own hands.
It is hard to be Mother Teresa as she was a noble soul, but we could all realize the power of touch and just give it out freely to our fellow human beings only to share with all humanity the feelings of brotherhood and equality.
Let’s begin from home. Let’s just reach out and hug our child or our parent today, and watch that sunny beam spread on their faces, to warm the cockles of our own heart.
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