Every square centimeter of your skin contains roughly 222 touch receptors. That works out to roughly 3,996,000 receptors for the average male. That ain’t no small number. Our bodies could’ve decided to shed that multitude of receptors at some point in the human race’s 200,000-year evolution. Obviously, though, they’re important. Today, we’re going to discuss why.
Here are 4 reasons touch is an absolutely crucial part of the human experience.
#1 – It helps us communicate.
Next time you’re heading into a meeting with a friend, plan to not touch them the entire time. From the moment you meet to the moment you’re walking in opposite directions – no touchy.
I’m kidding, don’t do that. It would make things very awkward.
Touch is an absolutely crucial part of how people communicate. For example, a trained person will be able to know exactly who you are based on how you shake their hand. For the average Joe or Jane, though, touch is a way of expressing and evoking everything from affection to desire, confidence and reliability.
#2 – It connects us to each other.
Every time you touch another human being, your brain releases a chemical called oxytocin. Experts dub this the ‘love hormone,’ but really it enhances all sorts of human connections. I like the way a 2006 study in the journal Virtual Reality put it:
Human touch bears the capacity for very personal and very intimate interpersonal interaction, and can potentially evoke a sense of proximity and establish the human connection.
#3 – It’s how we acquire positive energy.
Every person radiates energy. When you touch someone, a bit of that energy makes its way into your body. This can be a major source of – hopefully positive – energy in your life. If you feel like you’ve been spending too much time absorbing the negative variety, have a look at this post my friend.
#4 – It helps us heal.
Of course, this is the basis of things like massage therapy, chiropractic therapy and acupressure. But even if you never try a single one of those things, you benefit from this healing power on a daily basis.
In a Virginia University study, researchers observed the brains of women in pain. Remarkably, as soon as the women came into contact with their husbands’ skin, the ‘danger,’ threat,’ and ‘fear,’ portions of their brains slowed down. Coming into contact with a stranger produced this effect to a lower degree.
Additional research has proven that touch can also relieve symptoms in those with asthma, high blood pressure, migraines and diabetes. It’s all got to do with the immune system; its efficiency goes way up in response to touch.