The power of touch: body contact and its effect
A shaking of hands here, a pat on the back - we look unconsciously for all situations. How much touch actually affects us and our body, we rarely notice!
At the beginning of next year the time has come again - on January 21st is Weltknuddeltag. The fact that the cuddling is even dedicated to a whole day, shows how important touches are actually for our lives. Although we do not consider physical contact in everyday life as something special, our body has a very special relationship to the nearness. Only a few are aware of the influence that touches have on us - and that they can even be lifesaving.
1. The kangaroo method
The importance of body contact is already noticeable in the birth of a human being. It is normal for us to hug a crying baby to comfort it. But the fact that body contact in particular is the factor that calms a child is something that we pay little attention to. A hug can save lives. This proves, for example, the kangaroo method. When babies are born as premature babies, they often miraculously become stable when the mother holds them in their arms. Direct body contact plays a significant role in recovery, as it is the oxytocin that is released that stimulates brain maturation and growth!
2. Touch can have an opposite effect
Even though hugs should be a nice gesture, they can be negative in certain people. People who have not had any experience of closeness or violence in the past will be exposed to stress hormones such as cortisol when touched. At the same time, body contact with other people who have positive experiences of closeness has the opposite effect: here the cortisol, which can weaken the immune system, is suppressed. Instead, even messenger substances are released, which strengthen the defense reaction. A hug can therefore have a positive effect on a disease and even cure it!
3. Without proximity, we wither away
Several studies show that touch is vital. Thus, it has been found that baby animals that are supplied with sufficient food but do not experience body contact, can not develop further and even die. The successes of the kangaroo method suggest that this finding is also applicable to humans.
4. Body contact makes us risk-taking
In one study, men were tested for their risk appetite. The result was clear: Test persons, who were greeted by a woman before the experiment and had body contact with her at that time, were much more risk-averse. The explanation goes back to childhood, when the mother's touch radiated safety to us. So, when a man shakes a woman's hand, he starts making a more confident decision.
5. A touch affects our judgment
The doctor cheerfully presses your arm while he prescribes a medicine? This action happens with the one or the other physician safely aware. When we touch someone during an assignment, we execute them more diligently. This is proven by a study in which patients actually took their medication more regularly after the doctor squeezed their arms.
6. Touch acts like a drug
When we embrace a person close to us, the happiness hormone dopamine is released. Alone through the body contact we feel immediately well. The production of the binding hormone oxytocin is also stimulated. The latter is called cuddle hormone for this reason and can even protect against foreign cheating. Because oxytocin is released only at a very strong bond. It slows breathing, relaxes muscles and calms us down. We want to experience that feeling over and over again - it drives us like a drug to re-stimulate the reward system in the brain - and that works best in the arms of our partner.