25 August 2010

Touch of life...

Have you ever noticed what is the first thing we always do when we hurt ourselves or some part of our body aches?
We put our hand on it!
If we have an upset stomach, we are very likely to massage it with circular movements (which, by the way, usually follow the same direction of our bowels!)... Our body knows very well that touching and massage are an instant source of healing!
And what about our mind and soul? Well, isn't a hug the first thing we do with someone who is upset? And even with strangers, a hand on the shoulder is an instinctive way to say to the other person "I'm with you, I feel for you, I'm here to help"...

There are numerous scientific studies which show that touch is an important form of communication and healing. In several studies conducted in 1999 by Tiffany Field, it was found that there is a correlation between the amount of physical contact among adolescents and level of aggression. American teenagers, who have a lower level of physical touch with each other, are more aggressive than French adolescents, who have a higher level of physical contact.

In other studies it has been proven that newborn babies who are touched and caressed more are more likely to smile and vocalize than cry.

Brielle and Kyrie Jackson of Westminster, Massachusetts were born premature on the 17th of October 1995 and they were put in separate humidity cribs. Kyrie was doing fine, but Brielle who was lighter than her sister, was definitively struggling with weight, heart rate and breathing and she was under a great deal of stress. After a few days, fearing for Brielle's life, the nurses decided to put the two babies in the same humidity crib and as soon as they did that Brielle snuggled up to her sister and her heart beat relaxed down immediately and this photo made headlines everywhere in the Internet!

In many hospitals nurses are now taught to use "Healing Touch" a technique which has been "promoted" from the status of "alternative therapy" to that of "complementary therapy". Healing Touch is a form of very gentle massage that has shown to be beneficial to lower blood pressure, relax down patients and decrease pain so that a lesser amount of painkillers have to be given.

The amazing thing about touch and massage, however, is that you don't need to be a massage therapist in order to soothe a loved one (little Kyrie Jackson in the above photo is certainly too young to be a massage therapist, yet she saved her little sister's life!!)...

So tomorrow morning on waking up, make sure to give your partner, or your kid a big smile, a loving warm hug and then give them a crunchy apple to munch on!

It will be a gorgeous start of the day for them but also for you, because as the famous American cartoonist Bil Keane said:

"A hug is like a boomerang, you get it straight back!!"   :-))


  1. Last week was pretty hectic, so somehow I missed this post (my daughter turned 21 on the 25th!). I was fortunate to be raised in a very "touchy" Ukrainian family, so hugs and kisses were the norm with our parents, each other, and all extended friends and family. I agree with you that a touch, a hug, any kind of contact can achieve so much, as long as the intent is there from the heart (as it usually is!)

  2. Thanks Julie, it is always a pleasure to receive your feedback and comments :) I've been quite busy myself in the last week or so as I'm trying to promote massage for the elderly (I'm a massage therapist), because I believe that, as much as massage is advertised mainly for the fit and young, older people can benefit greatly from a gentle and caring touch!
    Have a gorgeous day and happy birthday to your daughter!!