Human Touch

Oct 01

I wonder if most people truly understand the value of the human touch.

One touch has so much power.

Just think about the first time someone you were attracted to touched your hand or your face? Can you recall the electricity in your body and mind. That one touch created powerful physiological changes in your body. Flushed cheeks, rapid heart beat, light-headedness! Pow! REa

What about the power of Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam

The depiction of God bringing forth life through the touch of his finger is powerful imagery. I think there is something to it regardless of whether or not you believe in God. There is power in the human touch.

When my children were small and hurt themselves in some way or another, they would be sobbing hysterically and the mere touch of my hand would calm them.

When I fall asleep at night I often do so holding the hand of my husband, John. It gives me a great sense of peace and connection to him. I can drift off easily with our fingers intertwined.

When my oldest daughter isn’t feeling well I know she loves for me to hold her head in my lap and run my fingers through her hair or gently touch her face. She can sense my love through the touch of my hand when words are often inadequate.

When my father was dying from leukemia, my touch could make his oxygen levels rise to normal from a level that could barely sustain life. Just my holding his hand or placing my hands on his forehead or shoulder seemed to help with his pain.

Can you recall times in your life when your touch has made a difference to someone else? Your friend who lost a parent or a child? Your child who was sick and scared? Your husband who lost his job? At the end of a bad day of work? You visited your grandmother at the assisted living home.

Even in death we often find ourselves reaching out to touch something of our loved one’s. We see images in the news of people touching a coffin or touching a memorial like the Vietnam Memorial. That tactile connection to anything that is physically available representing our loved one can bring us that connection we so long for.

I feel like our society is moving further and further away from understanding how important touch is. Some similar concerns are addressed in the following post.

What is to become of us if we lose the sense of how important touch is?

Teachers are no longer allowed to touch their pupils. Coaches and other adults who interact with children must be ultra careful not to touch lest they be accused of something inappropriate. Books encourage parents to “let their babies cry” to learn how to comfort themselves.

Isn’t one of our greatest purposes in life to connect and comfort each other?

Today there are many new ways for us to connect – cell phones/text messaging, facebook, twitter, google plus, but these lack the true human connection that being with each other, holding a hand or gently touching a shoulder, provides. Will our children and their children fully understand and appreciate this?

Doctors and Hospitals are beginning to understand the healing power of touch and are starting to incorporate more touch related therapies in their patients healing protocols. This article from WebMD covers some of the new touch related therapies that hospitals are now promoting for better patient outcomes.

Yet many people have some innate fear of touching people who are sick or disabled. I remember my mother, who had MS, telling me that after she was in a wheelchair she noticed nobody would touch her. It made her feel isolated and alone. Recently, I was having a conversation with Sierra Farris, a PA who treats Parkinson’s patients. One of her observations was that often people do not want to touch PD patients, including their doctors and nurses, unless they have to. I believe this lack of physical connection can have a significant impact on the course of disease. Touch is as important as food and water. Without it we whither away like a plant without sunshine.

If you know someone with a disability or who is suffering from cancer or some neurological disorder that makes them seem “different”, don’t shy away from them. They need your touch now more than ever.

Here is another blog with some interesting information on human touch including information about some studies that have been done on its impact.

I learned more about the healing power of human touch in 2004 on a visit to Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona. My best friend was with me and she came back after having a treatment called Healing Touch telling me I should try it. I read about it and wasn’t really sure but thought I would give it a shot. The nurse, Barbara, who performed the healing touch work was amazing. I felt tremendous waves of emotion during the treatment. There was no talking only gentle holding and touch. It was very relaxing and peaceful. When I left the treatment room I was amazed at how peaceful and alive I felt. The colors were brighter and my vision was sharper. I’m not kidding. It was the strangest thing I had ever experienced. I had to know more. I found a practitioner back in Colorado, Janna Moll, and continued to see her periodically for what I call “tune ups”. I always feel better after a session – more together and at peace. Eventually, I took Level 1 & 2 classes from her so that I could do the work on my family. My oldest daughter will often ask me to “do that thing” when she is having joint pain. It always seems to make her feel better. I don’t know how it works but I know that it does. People feel calmer, more together and a peace when they are touched in a kind and loving way.

Touch is our ultimate form of connection. So I encourage you today to think about touch and to “reach out and touch” and every day think about the people you know or meet and whether a gentle touch might make a real difference in their day.

See what a difference you can make in someone’s life by letting them know you care with a gentle, loving touch.


  1. David Houghton /

    My first time visiting your blog. I was moved by the article on touch. So true!!

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