7 Benefits of Human Touch, According to Science
It feels good when the people we love touch and stroke us, and, apart from the affectionate contact, there are good reasons that affect health and well-being. The benefits of human touch could be due to the meaning behind the touching in those who give and receive it.
For some cultures, a display of affection means tenderness, for others, it’s a symbol of respect. However, depending on the context in which affection is given, it could have a positive or negative effect, according to a study conducted by Scientific Reports.
On the other hand, an investigation concluded that for human beings, touch is important in order to maintain relationships and communicate emotions. Find out what science says about the benefits of caresses.
Why is human touch so important?
An article published in The New Yorker magazine analyzed that both human babies and baby primates who grow up with a lack of affective contact tend to suffer serious problems during their development and have few skills to relate socially.
Our brain is activated by the stimulus of touch, which could influence the reasoning process, the learning process, decision-making, as well as social and emotional behaviors, as stated by research published in Developmental Review.
On the other hand, an investigation carried out by Research on Language and Social Interaction revealed that human touch has a calming effect on people who feel in danger, and this is because touch communicates support and empathy.
The benefits of human touch
Some experts agree that touch could have therapeutic potential, and that many people benefit from touch when they feel depressed, as it offers a motivating and reassuring effect. We’ll show you what other advantages it has, according to science:
1. It facilitates communication
A message of support could have a greater impact when it comes with a touch or a hug, rather than just saying the words “calm down, you’re not alone, you can count on me.” Touch expresses feelings with greater efficiency, precision, and intensity.
According to a study conducted by the Journal of Gerontological Nursing, the language of touch involves the meaning of duration, action, location, intensity, sensation, and frequency. It also states that the need for touch can increase when the senses of hearing and vision diminish, as well as when there is a lack of social contact.
2. It improves mental health
Touching doesn’t just benefit the recipient. According to a study in women, when they provided affection to their partners, they experienced greater activity in the area of the brain responsible for the reward system. So, the affective contact with a depressed person allows both of them to have positive emotions.
Experts also believe that human touch could help reduce feelings of existential fear and suppress self-doubt, according to a compilation of studies by the Association for Psychological Science.
Other research highlights that providing affection, such as hugs, caresses, and kisses, decreases the effects of stress and increases recovery.
3. It improves overall health
A review by Psychological Science revealed that hugs not only absorb stress, but also provide a protective effect against respiratory infections. Those who received emotional support showed a greater decrease in infection than those who didn’t receive human touch.
It is believed that the affections provided between couples tend to lower blood pressure and heart rate, so, according to a study published in Biological Psychology, affective contact strengthens the heart.
4. It strengthens relationships
Friendships and couples are strengthened by having physical contact. A hug, a stroke of the hair or touching the forearm gives the feeling of being more honest, close, trustworthy and friendly.
Genuine affection can be the start of a new friendship. In addition, it increases self-confidence and empathy.
5. It increases the capacity for seduction
Tender and affectionate touches allow the people involved to be more receptive. Attraction, bonding and trust increase when affectionate contact is more frequent.
Research published by Psychosomatic Medicine suggests that touch tends to increase heart rate, which could arouse sexual appetite among partners.
In addition, physical contact is related to the production of oxytocin in the brain, according to a study by Frontiers in Psychology., When this hormone is released, it increases the feeling of well-being and happiness.
6. It increases performance
A study carried out by Biological Psychology found that positive human touch may be related to improved performance. When there’s a pleasant stimulus in the environment, it affects performance, although it isn’t yet clear what the link between affection, motivation and proactivity is.
Touching is believed to encourage the performance of activities more effectively, compared to those without encouragement.
7. It helps to reduce pain
Research suggests that therapeutic touches, and small rubs on the skin, can help people with fibromyalgia to feel less pain and improve their quality of life. Human touch can even reduce headaches and back pain.
If two acquaintances have contact when one of them experiences mild pain, their touch can relieve the sensation of pain.
Human touch as a “food” for well-being
The skin is an intelligent organ that, by feeling human touch, releases a state of happiness and well-being, provided that this is a positive contact. Otherwise, an unwanted contact with an unwanted person can cause unpleasantness, annoyance, and irritation.
Loving contact reduces fear, strengthens heart health, improves overall health, and increases sexual appetite. Communication is more assertive, and the sensation of pain decreases. These are just some of the benefits of the touch of a loved one.