The Power of Human Touch
by Chelsey Alzate
When was the last time you've hugged someone or patted them on the shoulder? Hour ago? A day? A week? No matter whom it was or how, touch has affected you in some way. Did you know that a caring touch, such as a hug, hand holding, and patting can reduce stress, lessen pain, and improve the immune functions? A research study done in the University of Miami explains that a caring touch like hand holding or a massage lowers stress hormones and blood pressure (Bauer). The lowering of stress hormone is shown particularly in men (Jayson). Touch is not a cure for any illness but is proven to help reduce intensity of any illness or disorder. So a little touch, here and there, can go a long way.
Touch doesn't just affect men; it also affects women and any age group starting with infancy. A study at the University of North Carolina states that a woman can increase her levels of oxytocin and lessen her heart rate just by touch, especially if it's from her partner (Dworkin-McDaniel). Why is oxytocin important? Oxytocin, particularly in women, helps in reducing stress. It is also known as the "cuddle" hormone because it creates a feeling of bonding and belonging. Brain scans of people under duress showed that fear or threat related activity in the brain was significantly reduced when a loved one grabbed their hand (Dworkin-McDaniel). This simple touch creates a comfort that even the brain can't ignore.
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