Consider the following:
- Skin-to-skin contact between mother and infant has been shown to benefit the baby’s physical development and contributes to a positive attachment relationship between the two. The practice of placing a diaper-clad infant skin-to-skin on the mother is so beneficial that it is now an intervention strategy for premature babies in neonatal intensive care units worldwide.
A group of Korean infants under the care of an orphanage were provided with an extra 15 minutes of stimulation twice a day, 5 days a week, for 4 weeks. The additional stimulation consisted of auditory (female voice), tactile (massage), and visual (eye-to-eye contact). Compared to the infants who only received regular care, the stimulated orphans gained significantly more weight and had larger increases in body length and head circumference after the 4 week intervention period, as well as at 6 months of age. In addition, the stimulated infants had fewer illnesses and clinic visits. Gentle touch has been shown to facilitate physical and psychological functioning, particularly in terms of reducing stress, relieving pain, increasing the ability to cope, and general health ratings. Participants in a study examining the effectiveness of therapeutic touch as a treatment for managing pain due to fibromyalgia experienced a significant decrease in pain and reported a significant improvement in quality of life. The majority of nursing home residents suffering from dementia like Alzheimer’s disease develop behavioural symptoms of dementia, such as restlessness, searching and wandering, tapping and banging, pacing and walking, and vocalization. Current treatment involves drugs, but a recent study showed that intervention consisting of therapeutic touch significantly reduces these behavioural symptoms. Impressive is that the therapeutic touch employed in the study was only provided twice per day, for three days. Each therapeutic intervention lasted only 5-7 minutes.
Clearly, the importance of touch cannot be underestimated. Applying this knowledge in your closest relationships can make all the difference with your health.