I have written more than 120 articles about touch but have just recently learned its powerful healing effect firsthand. The last several days, I have been wracked with a painful pinched nerve in my upper back that has exhausted me. My best healing practices haven’t been working and the amount of energy that managing the pain has taken up has left me bereft. Last night, even sleep evaded me. The only thing that has provided any relief at all has been the warmth and pressure of my husband’s healing hands.
I have more memories than I can count of holding my children through the night and knowing that I was healing them. Even in their teen years, my bed is standard treatment when they are ill or overcome with emotion. However, in all these years, I have rarely reached out for the same treatment. Last night something changed; I was able to ask for the care that I have always been so good at giving but have never risked receiving. I woke my husband, curled into his touch and was finally able to rest.
Babies do not thrive without human touch. Mothers everywhere know this intuitively. More and more medical studies are confirming our intuition- everything from fibromyalgia to Alzheimers improves with the addition of human touch. Our attention transmitted through our miraculous human hands is the most powerful healing tool on the planet. Even our ability to learn and pay attention are improved when we are touched even briefly. Touch is the universal human language that transforms and heals us.
Physical contact awakens the prefrontal areas of the brain that control our abilities to relax and emote. Being held at any age creates a visceral imprint of trust, which the brain hears more clearly than any verbal message of support. Touching is the language that we all crave most. There may not be a more relaxed moment than in the safety of a warm hug or the contact of hands on one’s aching back.
Initiating family hugs every day will transform the intimacy in your home. If you don’t believe it, spend the next few days consciously aware of how many times you are touched throughout the day and how many times you reach out to touch someone else. Notice how even the smallest of physical exchanges impacts how you feel in the moment and with the person you connected with. I envy the European cultures’ ease in leaning forward and brushing cheeks with almost anyone they meet. Becoming more fluent in the language of touch is the key to our healing.