The Power of Touch

You feel the truth of this as you read it. That loss, or not, of the contact we receive as we grow up, becomes who we are and affects how we deal with all of our relationships. That understanding of how that contact builds and reinforces our ability to give and show that love we feel within, directs all of our lives. That contact, which may seem such a simple thing, IS who we are, and is shown daily in our day to day existence and how we interact with the world.

Reblogged from Otrazhenie

The Power of Touch


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.

The benefits of touch start from the moment we’re born. 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.


As Kelly Bartlett points out, being regularly physically affectionate with kids of all ages helps maintain the emotional connection they share with their parents. When that bond remains strong, challenging behavioral situations decrease and discipline becomes less intense overall.


Games involving person-to-person contact (e.g. horsey rides, piggy back rides, wrestling, tag etc.)  promote the release of positive brain chemicals and bring families closer together in a fun, physical way.

How To Advise A Couple Starting A Family


As children grow and become more independent and social, opportunities for cuddling naturally diminish, and it becomes important for parents to take extra effort to find ways to physically connect with them. Reading to a child or even watching a movie on the couch is a wonderful way to get close, as it invites leaning into, lying on, snuggling, touching, and arm-wrapping.


And educators, take note: A study by French psychologist Nicolas Gueguen has found that when teachers pat students in a friendly way, those students are three times as likely to speak up in class.


Touch is very important for adults too. According to scientists, touch reduces both physiological and perceived stress; touch causes one’s stress hormones, such as cortisol, to decrease while causing other hormones, like oxytocin, to increase which promote social bonding and wellness.

Happy friends


According to Dacher Keltner, touch is our primary language of compassion, and a primary means for spreading compassion. In fact, in his research he has found that people can not only identify love, gratitude, and compassion from touches but can differentiate between those kinds of touch, something people haven’t done as well in studies of facial and vocal communication.


Interestingly enough, two gender differences have been identified in Dacher Keltner’s research:

  • when a woman tried to communicate anger to a man via touch, he got zero right—he had no idea what she was doing!
  • when a man tried to communicate compassion to a woman via touch, she didn’t know what was going on!
The Gender Dictionary helps resolve arguments and relationship problems caused by gender communication differences.


It might seem surprising, but touch may mean more to men than they let on: A 2011 study by the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction polled more than 1,000 men and their female partners in five countries about the power of touch and found that for men between the ages of 40 and 70, regular cuddling was more important than sex. The more men hugged and kissed, the happier they considered their relationships.


There are times—during intense grief or fear, but also in ecstatic moments of joy or love—when only the language of touch can fully express what we feel. This video is an invitation for people to relearn the power of touch. There’s much to be gained from embracing our tactile sense—in particular, more positive interactions and a deeper sense of connection with others.

Did you touch someone today?



6 thoughts on “The Power of Touch

  1. Hi Mark,
    I hopped over here (as I’ve been meaning to do all week) and was so pleased to find this gem. I’m a huge fan of the power of touch. My poor 14-year-old son endures my spontaneous hugs (I make sure he never knows when they are coming!!) and just yesterday I held a friend who had burdens land on her shoulders all at once. Touch is powerful and empowering–I loved your intro and enjoyed the repost.
    I hope that you are having a wonderful week!

    1. Hi Michelle! Yes, you do have to sneak in those hugs with 14 year olds. And especially not doing it in front of anyone. Apparently parents have germs when they reach that age 🙂 It has an incredible power for healing and empathizes so strongly to others, especially in times of need. And even the act of giving that touch can be very difficult for many people, from their painful dealings with intimacy, emotional or otherwise. Thank you for your comment, very much appreciated.
      Oh, nearly forgot. You got me wondering about my old school place from your post ‘HOMETOWN MERRY-GO-ROUND (LIFE IS A HIGHWAY VOL. 5)’ so I did a google maps wander and got the shock of my life. The school was still there but the open cut mining has removed the entire town. I was stunned. Lots of old bits of the land I remember but nearly everything else is gone. Yes, we do move on in our lives and things change, but that was a real eye opener. I’ll put a picture up in my gallery in the next day or so for you to see. Take care my friend, I do hope your old stomping grounds hold a little more memories than what I found 🙂 Namaste

      1. Amazing story about your school. I’m so fascinated. It’s a bit like a tornado…ravaging everything, but often leaving a single structure standing in the debris. I can’t wait to see the photos!
        I had planned to take more photos of my hometown for the article, but oddly enough, really felt like a stranger and out of place. Our kindergarten building was an old church that has since been leveled. The grade school now holds farm equipment (though the tree I planted in 1976 is HUGE!) and the high school looks the same…as does the ferris wheel. Bittersweet, right?

        1. Very bittersweet! I just put a photo up in my gallery. Just the one as there is nothing else there, they have flattened everything. It does give you an odd feeling like it is no longer a part of who you are, but it is, because it was a part of your learning, to become who you now are. Strange sensation though. And I didn’t think to see if my tree is still there. It was one of the few that survived a bad drought. I’ll go back and check, now that would bring a smile in remembrance 🙂

  2. Being a Grandparent… and mother the first thing we do when our children fall down is to touch and rub it better…. Healing is within the touch, a hug, a smile… Wonderful repost Mark.. Thank you
    Blessings Sue

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