Touch is one of the first senses we develop as infants; the skin is in fact our largest organ. Many researchers today appreciate the emotional centric power of touch and how it is a fundamental part of our daily experience.
It hasn’t always been this way. 1928 saw John Watson, a behavioural psychologist encouraging parents not to be tactile with their children. “Never hug and kiss them, never let them sit on your lap. If you must kiss them, then once on the forehead will do.” He believed that too much touching encouraged “mawkish” adults. He maintained that untouched children enter adulthood with stable work and emotional habits.
Wow! I am glad I wasn’t around in the early 1900’s to take heed. In fact pause this blog whilst I give my son a hug! Today we know quite the opposite. The benefits of touch are endless and encouraged in our society and culture. A hug when you are feeling sad or stressed; cuddling at the end of a long, hard day; a handshake to end a business meeting. Could it be that in our tech saturated world the power of touch could become a rarity?
Researchers are exploring whether this feel good energy has an effect on our wellbeing. It is know that on feeling touch oxytocin is released. This hormone helps decrease the stress response specifically cortisol, it has an effect on blood pressure and many more benefits. Daniel Keltner a professor of psychology at The University of California, cites Edmund Ross’s work in neuroscience. It was found that physical touch activates part of the brain called the orbitofrontal cortex, linked to feelings of reward and compassion. Keltner not only reinforces the oxytocin trigger release but goes further to say that our skin contains receptors that directly elicit emotional responses.
Enjoying something as simple as a massage can elicit these good emotional and physical wellbeing benefits. Aromatherapy, deep tissue or acupressure – take your pick. A few of the physiological benefits include relieving muscle tension, increased flexibility, increased blood circulation, removal of toxins. In fact this blog space is not long enough to list all the benefits.
Introducing touch to your day-to-day
A few of many ways:
- On a personal level you may wish to consider booking a regular massage? If you don’t know a practitioner already then look out for someone that is properly qualified – word of mouth recommendations often speak wonders. The Federation of Holistic Therapists offer a comprehensive therapist directory
- At work have you considered Acupressure for your team? In as little as 15 minutes your team member could feel re-energized and rewarded after having pressure points down their back alleviated. This non-intrusive treatment delivered at your office is an excellent way to improve group dynamics, engagement and increase the feel good factor. Our clients give us wonderful feedback on this.
- If massage is not for you then go on … have a hug! Elevate your mood and boost those oxytocin levels!
If you’d like to know more about Acupressure for your team, we’d love to chat!