Can you imagine life without being able to sense touch?
According to experts, it’s the first sense we develop. It’s a crucial form of communication from infancy right through to our dying years.
And that’s not limited to humans; even for baby monkeys, as one Harry Harlow experiment showed, touch is more valuable and desirable than food itself.
Tech developers know this and have tried to recreate the sensations of human touch in everything from vibrating video game controllers to massage chairs. But if you’ve ever been in the company of a real human being who gave you a pat on the back, held your hand or placed their arm around you, you know there’s nothing that quite compares to it.
Here are 5 reasons you need to experience physical human touch every single day to ensure both mental and physical health.
1. Physical touch is crucial for communication.
From the light punch your best friend gives you while cracking a joke to the hand a coworker places on your shoulder after a tough meeting, physical touch can add so much to a conversation.
In fact, one Berkeley University researcher believes touch is the “primary language of compassion, and a primary means for spreading compassion.”
It makes sense, doesn’t it? Touch flies right over language barriers. Long before babies blurt their first words, they’re familiar with the reassurance that comes from their parents’ touch.
Randi Kreger writing for Psychology Today says that even for adults, momentary touches can communicate an even wider range of emotion than facial expressions and gestures.
So maybe, if you want to let someone you love know how you really feel, supplement your words with a reassuring touch.
2. Daily physical touch connects you to other people.
For centuries, humans have employed touch in therapeutic settings such as acupuncture, massage therapy and chiropractic therapy.
And it’s not just your muscles and bones that can be healed by skillful touch; your mind can be repaired as well.
Licensed psychologists can provide a variety of touch therapy styles that decondition those who have experienced challenges as severe as physical abuse. That highlights the importance of good, caring physical touch.
4. Physical touch helps restore your positive energy.
According to the Spiritual Science Research Foundation, physical touch such as hugging is one way positive energy is transferred between individuals.
We all carry different types of positive energy, from happiness to optimism, so we all can gain a thing or two for another person’s touch.
Can you think of any other ways physical touch is crucial?