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Human Touch
Human Touch
Connecting with others can have a confidence-boosting effect, support skin health and help you live longer. Here’s why the wonders of physical contact really matter...
Lisa Oxenham

ALL THE FEELS

You are happy being single, have a busy job and a thriving social life, but there is something missing – you crave physical touch. ‘Touch hunger’, or ‘skin hunger’ as it is also known, arises when we are deprived of physical contact.

It isn’t a sexual need, but a sense we crave from the day we are born. ‘Meaningful contact produces hormones in the brain such as serotonin, dopamine and the bonding hormone oxytocin to help foster positive emotions,’ says Jo Ham, psychotherapist at the Human Givens Institute. ‘As well as making you feel good, human touch can slow down heart rate, reduce blood pressure and boost the immune system.’ This makes it just as important to our well-being as a nutritious diet and exercise. Not everyone is able to be in an intimate, physical relationship, but it’s important to know that we all have the need. ‘If you don’t have a romantic partner, who can give you that connection, how about close contact with a friend or family member?’ says Ham. ‘Even a friendly touch on the arm can be very soothing for somebody who is feeling upset or alone.’

HEALING HANDS

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November 2019