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How Important is The Human Touch?

Discussion in 'Discussion' started by Grama-Herc, Apr 10, 2008.

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  1. Grama-Herc

    Grama-Herc I'm a VIP

    I recall when I was in hospital we were lectured about the importance of the human touch. In a recent post somewhere here someone stated how it had been a very long time since they had been hugged.

    I am curious if this really has a positive affect on us as people. What really happens to a person when there is NO physical contact with another human
    being. Does that really affect your emotional and physcial and mental condition?

    Can a simple caring hug make a difference in our outlook and mental stability? I'm not talking about any type of sexual touch! This is simply a nice big--it's going to be OK---hug!

    Can the lack of human physical contact actually cause us harm?

    When is the last time You had someone give you a big innocent hug?

    Without sounding weird---how did that simple hug feel. What emotions did it evoke in you?

    This is a question that has been floating around in my head for a long time. Just courious, that's all
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  3. spiritofnow

    spiritofnow Well-Known Member

    I am not suppossed to be here - I have decided to take time out and have a break! I have been searching for alternatives to meds.......

    Anyway, your thread - OMG!
    Great thread!

    I think that physical human interaction is so important - it is for me.

    I am single (5months), and I miss being touched terribly. To feel strong arms around me cocooning me from the world for a brief moment. To feel the heat of another person. To feel and hear their heartbeat as though it is whispering sweet nothings to me and only me. I miss being hugged, I miss it!

    Being hugged by a close friend is good and warm and loving, but it does not feel the same or have the same effect as a true loved one!

    When I am hugged I feel:

    I feel loved! I feel important! I feel wanted! I feel needed! I feel safe! I feel alive! I feel I exist! I feel lovable! I feel worhty! I feel connected! I feel everytihng will be Okay!........I just feel and that is so important!

    Yes, I feel it is detrimental not to be hugged or shown a physical response in terms of how we feel about another person. I practiced hugging my son from the moment he was born as I was not! I knew I had to get used to the sensation so that I could make him feel connected. It is a gift to be able to touch another in a gentle and loving manner.

    Spirit (hugging all of you with much love and warmth ) x
    Philippa likes this.
  4. linasmom

    linasmom Well-Known Member

    For me, it depends on who is doing the touching/hugging. If it is someone I care about and trust, then a hug means the world when I need one. I'm not a touchy/feely person so I don't crave human touch a lot. If I'm stressed out though, and my husband hugs me at just the right time, it can be very calming. A lot of times, if my husband rubs my arm or leg as I'm having a panic attack, his touch will help ground me.

    I do believe that the human touch can be healing for the soul, unfortunately, so many things keep us from having that sort of interaction with other human beings: judging by society, trust, disease, fear, etc...etc...
  5. nic

    nic Well-Known Member

    I once had a T tell me that she thought that some of my issues came from not being held enough as an infant. Well, my mother is no saint, but one thing is certain: she DID hold me when I was a baby.

    While I sometimes get nervous with touch, especially from a man, I recognize that I do need it. I've never been good with touching people; after the trauma, I sort of had to re-learn how to give a simple hug. My lack of physical affection, (and I'm not talking about sexual or anything), has been a complaint of many of the guys I've dated. Regardless of someone's past, I do believe that touch is important, as it connects us to our fellow human being.
  6. becvan

    becvan Queen of the Blunt!
    Premium Member

    Interesting question Herc.

    Personally, I really don't care for much touch. I don't notice at all that I don't get hugs, but I sure do notice when I do! What touch I get is from my children, dog and family and that's more than enough for me.

    I personally hate hugs from anyone other than that. I think way too many people are too huggy. I just want them to get the hell off of me.

    I think the whole positive/negative influence is very unique to each person. It's more negative in my eyes unless it's someone in my close family or that I am intimate with. Someone else may find it very positive.

    Humans need to be socialized; mentally, emotionally, & physically from birth. However our needs lessen as we mature. How much that lessens would depend on each persons experiences.

    Really, way I see it is, if it doesn't bother you than what is the issue?

  7. Nicolette

    Nicolette ♡ Supporter Admin ♡
    Supporter Admin

    There is medical evidence to support that a hug releases some chemicals in the body which have a positive effect. I read it somewhere recently.
  8. Nicolette

    Nicolette ♡ Supporter Admin ♡
    Supporter Admin

    Medical results from a study on the benefits of a hug:

    The study showed hugs increased levels of oxytocin, a "bonding" hormone, and reduced blood pressure - which cuts the risk of heart disease.

    But, writing in the Psychosomatic Medicine, the researchers said women recorded greater reductions in blood pressure than men after their hugs.

    Both men and women were seen to have higher levels of oxytocin after the hug.

    People in loving relationships were found to have higher levels of the hormone than others.

    But the study also found all women had reduced levels of cortisol (stress hormone) following the hug, as well as reporting the blood pressure benefits.
  9. Anonymoose

    Anonymoose Active Member

    Consensual touch is healing for me. Massage, hugging, cuddling...all are healing. Sex is best of all!
    Philippa likes this.
  10. 2quilt

    2quilt I'm a VIP


    I love touching. I crave the feeling of my husband holding me. Luckily, I also have cats who just show up and demand to be loved on. When they have had their fill, they get up and leave. I can get myself in trouble because I touch people while we are having a conversation, and that is uncomfortable to some people. I will hug anyone. I will pet any animal and I prefer animals to people sometimes.
    Philippa likes this.
  11. Roo

    Roo Active Member

    How important is touch? -- We can die without it. I recently read A General Theory of Love, by Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini, and Richard Lannon. This book both blew my mind and confirmed things I've known in my bones for a long time.

    We've all experienced so many different kinds of touch, haven't we...and when it's :Hug_emoticon: good :kiss: there's nothing in the world but heart. I was hugged by a mentor when I was seventeen and feeling tarred with Shame.

    It was a completely ... selfless embrace, gentle yet containing; confirming. I had never before been held like that.

    Must go ... dinner ...

    Herc, thank you for that marvelous question :smile:
  12. linasmom

    linasmom Well-Known Member

    Me too!

    I shamefully admit that I sometimes get irritated because my daughter is extremely touchy/feely and a lot of times I have to tell her to stop because my skin starts to crawl for no apparent reason other than I'm not used to being touched a lot in that way (I can't ever remember a time my mother touched/hugged/kissed me, her only form of contact was by hitting). Anyway, when my daughter was an infant, I held her incessantly, which is why I think my daughter is so affectionate in that way now. But now that she is older, for some reason, I get irritated a lot times when she "rubs" my arm or legs or feet. However, I could rub my cat or dog all day long.

    Maybe I should talk to my T about that. Hmmm....:think:
  13. whitewillow312

    whitewillow312 New Member

    Right after my trauma I had such a profound need to always be near and touch my husband, no matter how small, like my foot resting against his, my hand on his arm. The profoundness has gone away but I still have some need of it. I'm not much of a touchy feely person but I do enjoy a hug now and then from someone I love and trust. My niece gives the best hugs and she always seems to know when I need them the most.
  14. becvan

    becvan Queen of the Blunt!
    Premium Member


    Do you have any specifics on the hug tests? Like who they tested and how, stuff like that? I'm curious to see what type of limitations it had. Rather interesting.

    I also prefer animal touch to human. :)

  15. Grama-Herc

    Grama-Herc I'm a VIP

    When I asked this question, I did not take into account that it may take the direction
    of hugs from people other than family/loved ones!

    I am so glad to see the type of interest this has evoked. I was hoping to get the answer I was seeking, and I did.

    It has been WAY to long since I received a hug. Even though I live with mother, I sudenly realized that we never hug! A situation that is going to be corrected this
    very day!

    The way a hug makes me feel is so comforting and safe and warm. It is just like
    taking a big deep breath makes you feel. Relaxed and away from the stress.

    I can't believe I have allowed this basic human need to fall by the way side with
    mom. But then, when I think about it we never were a touchy, feely family!

    I need a hug today. So when she wakes up , I'm gonna get one. So my next question to you is this. Have you hugged your loved one today?
    TreeHugger likes this.
  16. Lucky Laser

    Lucky Laser Well-Known Member

    I used to think that I hated being touched. I would feel eeked out if someone I didn't know even brushed against me (and still do to some degree). During the past few years though I have realized that the right person can make being touched one of the most wonderful experiences for me. When my husband hugs me I feel like nothing can go wrong, ever! I don't think we've gone one single day that we've been together without sharing a hug.
  17. morgan

    morgan Well-Known Member

    I hug my dad almost every morning, (unless I'm mad at him for saying something stupid to me). It has done wonders for me. It makes me feel loved and connected. I too prefer animals to human but not necessarily when it comes to family. I do however hate it when a stranger or someone I barely know hugs me. It can make me feel violated.

    My mom and I hug once in awhile but she's not very touchy, feely at all.
    Philippa likes this.
  18. Nicolette

    Nicolette ♡ Supporter Admin ♡
    Supporter Admin

    It was done by the British Health Foundation. If you go to google and type in medical benefits of a hug and go to the result under BBC News - it will tell you there.

  19. Awakening

    Awakening Well-Known Member

    I've done some googling on 'somatic' therapy with people suffering from trauma.

    I'm not a naturally huggy person, but massage I enjoy. In fact I really crave that non-sexual non-emotional professional touch, if that makes any sense!

    I also have a confession - I do not like dogs. And those little creatures will seek me out every time & slober all over me, jumping up & down. Seriously there will be 99 dog lovers in the room, and they will seek out me. People look at me strangely for pushing the dog away.
  20. spiritofnow

    spiritofnow Well-Known Member

    They obviously like you! :wink:

    Spirit x
  21. dlross

    dlross Active Member

    Every once in a long while I will notice that I am suffering from what I call 'skin hunger'. That is when I usually seek out a massage therapist for a session or two. Touch deprivation is the norm for me. And so, like others here I have difficulty interpreting and tolerating touch.
  22. Grama-Herc

    Grama-Herc I'm a VIP

    OMG what a super word "Skin Hunger" I like that. I am suffering from it these days.
    The only person I have to feed this starvation I'm going through is my mom. I've tryed hinting that I want a hug but have not asked for one. I would probably get further is I
    were to express my need and ask for a hug. Ya Think? :doh:
    TreeHugger likes this.
  23. Awakening

    Awakening Well-Known Member

    Maybe your Mum is thinking about how much she would like a hug too but doesn't want to ask?

    No harm in asking. The worse case scenario is she says no. And you've survived worse then that.
    TreeHugger likes this.
  24. Marlene

    Marlene I'm a VIP
    Premium Member

    I learned that one of the ways that babies fail to thrive is not being held. I type this one-handed as I hold my grandson who started fussing. Touch is, to me, one of the most important things in life. I've seen a lot of children (when I taught) to whom a small hug was a great gift.

    Like a lot who've written here, being touched now is a bit of a difficult thing. Especially by a man. A man brushing by me in a crowd or getting too close can send my Anxiety soaring. I understand now that this is a learned behavior and associated with PTSD. I don't know if it will ever go away. But by people that I care about or who are 'before people' (before PTSD), touch is still pretty much ok with me. It's the new or the 'after people' that take quite a while for me to warm up to.

    Touch has always been something that helps me. It continues to be a thing that helps me to calm myself when life gets too much.

  25. Springwolf

    Springwolf New Member

    Researchers at Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah, conducted a meta-analysis of published studies and found that having social ties with friends, family, neighbors and colleagues can improve our odds of survival by 50 per cent. You can read about their study online in a paper published in the July 2010 issue of PLoS Medicine - the article is titled: Social Relationships and Mortality Risks by Julianne Holt-Lunstad.
    Chincho and Pencil like this.
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