I can to this day, some sixty eight years later, recall the first time I kissed a little girl. Although not one hundred per cent clearly, I still remember her face and her somewhat full rosebud lips. More than this I recall that she took my hand, held it fast, turned and kissed me on full on the lips, whilst I stood in a tremor of fright and absolute delight. We were two eight-year-olds.
As a youth I was an altar boy in our local Catholic Church, which was run by Italian priests of the Franciscan order. Standard greeting by the priests in the early morning masses we served at was; two hands squeezing my cheeks and exclaiming, “My Peter, my Peter” With such emotion was this process carried out that you would have thought I was an angel sent to bless them!
You can imagine my surprise, as an older man, receiving the same treatment from my Italian line manager, who much preferred to hug you than to formally shake your hand. Whenever I had succeeded in securing a big contract or had excellent monthly sales figures, this same man would pat my back or my shoulders, “Bene, bene” he would say.
I have had hundreds of similar experiences; let us refer to them as ‘non-sexual’ touching encounters and with no exception, they always resulted in good emotions within in me; sometimes with elation, when being congratulated, or just feeling warm and cared for by another human being.
I recall being the victim of second degree burns which took six very painful months to heal. The doctor, then head of the burns unit in a large university hospital, used to examine my wounds daily and then proceed to very gently run his hands across my skin and in the process, remove all dead burnt scales. I shall never forget the relief I experienced (not to mention healing) that those hands brought me.
There is no end to the experience of touch in my life, much of which had romantic roots and much of which I have no way of describing; I can only say it must be absolutely unimaginable for me to consider a life with little or no human touch.
I was raised on a continent, where touch among my indigenous fellow citizens is as essential as breathing and all done with no inhibition, simply a way of life, and that over millennia.
According to information on the internet, the human touch goes beyond just making us feel good, wanted, feeling safe and many more emotions and I offer you a few quotations:
“We don’t usually think of physical touch as a form of therapy, but studies have shown that being touched can actually help lessen pain, improve immune system functionality, improve pulmonary function, increase growth and development, and lower blood glucose. With more discoveries being made every day, the healing power of human touch is definitely something more than just a “nice thought.”
A Simple Touch May Save Lives
One of the first studies that showed the healing power of human touch was done during WWII. Dr. Rene Spitz was perplexed when orphaned infants that were being given the basic needs – shelter, food, and a sterile environment – were dying. The infant mortality rates sky rocketed as more infants came to the orphanage and, despite being given excellent care, passed away. After extensive study years later, the American psychologist Harry Harlow concluded that the infants died from lack of touch.
If you think about it, this makes a lot of sense. Infants are so helpless when they enter this world and their only sense that is fully developed is touch. They would thrive much better in a situation that is warm, safe, and full of physical contact just like the womb where they thrived before birth.
Human Touch Translates Into Feeling Security
The need for human touch isn’t just present in infants. When you are touched, the many nerve endings in your skin send messages back to your brain. This is the way we feel things like pain or heat. When you are touched by another person, the signals sent to your brain translate into feelings of security, happiness, and comfort. These feelings are supported by a decrease in stress hormones and an increase oxytocin, a hormone thought to calm and counter stress”
More of my Experience
I think of going to my hairdresser, Izzie, a real champion stylist – he has to be, considering the current amount of hairs on my head! Amazingly he manages to make my session last for at least forty minutes. In this time my hair is shampooed, scalp is massaged, all whilst I’m in a horizontal position. Then onto the cutting, trimming and styling – I love it when he is busy with my head – wow it’s cool!
How about the times when I have gone for massages, or my skin specialist who scans every centimeter of my body for any unwanted squatters.
It’s hard for me to describe the pleasures I have received from these experiences, let alone their therapeutic benefits.
I want to tell you about my best ‘touch’ experiences. As a couple of more ‘mature’ members of society and hardworking ones at that, my partner and I often have stiffness, cramps and spasms , probably because our minds are 25 years younger than our bodies. It gives us both, a great pleasure to massage the pains away from one another; each one groaning at the pleasure of the therapy given unconditionally to comfort and heal the other.
How about this item:
“’Tis (Sometimes) Better to Give Than to Receive
Before you try to convince that special someone that your health and sanity depend on his massaging you day and night, note that at least one study has shown that giving a massage can sometimes be even more beneficial than receiving one. The experiment assessed the stress levels and self-esteem of senior citizens who received professional massages and of those who massaged infants. Surprise: The massagers showed even greater gains than the massage-ees. That may be partly due to seniors’ particularly pronounced need to feel needed – but then again, (as your honey is sure to remind you when it’s your turn to give a back-rub for a change) we all need to feel valued and appreciated by those we love”.
This is a really worthwhile read: http://www.lamasbeauty.com/lifestyle/pleasure-power_print.htm
Go and touch as much as you can.
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