“[Touch is] ten times stronger than verbal or emotional contact, and it affects damn near everything we do. No other sense can arouse you like touch.” – Saul Schanberg,
We live in a culture that has an allergic reaction towards the most primitive tool of human communication and the most basic element of our five senses: touch. The most fleeting touch can connote so many different emotions: love/ friendship/ comradery/ and more.
We are wired to crave touch. In Ireland, when a baby is born, they place the naked baby on the stomach of his/her mother and then cover both of them with a blanket. In those few moments of a child’s life, they feel their mother’s skin, and they connect with her on the most primal level.
In fact, infants use touch as their primary mode for learning. They use thier hands to touch objects, toys and faces. They will touch and grab hold of everything and turn it around until they feel satisfied.
Touch is so important to us as a species that even our technology is evolving so that it caters to our most basic tools (our fingers). We now have touch-screens for our computers, phones, music players, and tablets. You can now start your car ignition with a simple touch.
Yet somehow, we are surrounded by a culture that primits us from doing what is only natural. You are programmed to revolt at the sight of people touching. It’s “disgusting, immoral, and wrong”. It doesn’t matter if they are husband and wife, mother and son, father and daughter, or brother and sister.
It’s very rare to see couples holding hands in public. You can definitely forget about seeing couples hugging or kissing in public. Even in hospitals, where you expect to see the families of the ailing huddled in a group comforting each other; more often than not, you will see people standing separately as strangers, with at least an arms length between them.
I saw a woman crying over the death of her husband, which had just happened in front of my eyes. Her sons stood around her and told her to pray for his soul instead. Even though, their voices were warm and emotional, not one hugged her, or sat next to her or even placed a hand on her back.
And it’s not because they are barbaric. It’s just the way that they have been conditioned by their society and their traditions.
You do not need to be in a hospital to see this. Walk around the malls. Observe how many mothers are walking around ahead of their maids/nannies, who would be holding or carrying the child. The mother has no connection what-so-ever with the child, she’s in her own world, shopping or talking on the phone.
Envelope me with your arms:
A study showed that waitresses who slighlty touched the hand of the customer when giving them the check, received a higher tip!
So instead, we spend KD 60 on a maasage session. Isn’t it ironic, we are paying for touch?
Think about it, your body’s largest organ is your skin. Here are some of the benefits of touching:
- Reduces stress
- Reduces depression
- Relieves pain
- Boosts happiness
- Improves the immune system
- Lowers blood pressure
Plus many more.
So, have you hugged your loved one today?