Did you know that physical touch can boost your immune system, lower blood pressure and impact your overall physical health? Who knew that a simple touch could do so much? The touch receptors beneath our skin, when activated, impact our body in what can really be best described as miraculous.
I remember hearing a woman talk about life after her partner of 50 years had passed. She missed the sound of his voice, his presence in the home, the way he made her laugh and all of the other things that made him special but the thing she missed the most was physical touch. She had hugs from her grandkids and her children, but it was that close, regular touch that she longed for. The holding of his hand, cuddling in bed at night, the feeling of him sitting beside her in church. She missed being able to reach out and touch him and being held in his arms.
As much as physical touch can impact our overall health in a good way, depravation of physical touch can impact us negatively.
I think about this when it comes to our children and how our touch can soothe an aching tooth, a scraped knee or a bruised heart. Kids need the kindness of touch. An article in mother.ly shares about the benefits of physical touch from the time we bring our bundles of joy home from the hospital. The article states that kids who experience healthy physical touch are more resilient and less anxious and sites a study that did a follow up after 30 years to see what the lasting effects were.
Life is busy and time to sit down, relax and catch our breath can be challenging but it’s imperative we give ourselves permission to do just that. Firstly, this is good for our own self care but secondly, it gives us the opportunity to be with our kids and to gather them up in our arms and hold them.
A young friend of mine recently told me that she has been burning the candle at both ends and has had a 10 day period of busy. She could tell that her youngest, who is 13 was feeling it. The other morning she pulled her 13-year-old into her arms, told her she knew she’d been busy and that this period was coming to an end and on the weekend all she (the mother) wanted to do was to hold her daughter in her arms and hold her face in her hands and stare at her. Sound a little extreme? Perhaps but what I loved was that the daughter looked at her mum, held her tightly back and said, ‘I want that too and I can’t wait.’
Physical touch, when done properly (and understanding comfort zones) is healing. It changes our chemistry and can soften even the hardest of hearts or attitudes. It is healing balm. Never underestimate the power of a hug.