The Healing Properties of Touch

The Healing Properties of Touch

By Lee Davy

Every night just before I shut my eyes on another amazing day I complete my Thinking Journal. It is my period of reflection and I always spend a few moments writing down the important moments of the day. My reasons for living. My father works abroad a lot and two days ago he was packing to go to Nigeria for a few months. Just before I went to bed I gave him a kiss on his head. I wrote about it in my journal because my father is not the type of person who likes to be touched. He is your quintessential British mans-man. Outwardly he displayed an awkwardness when my lips touched his grey hair but I know inside it made him feel wonderful. I vowed to kiss and hug him more often when he returns. I guess he is going to have to get used to it.

Canadian Sidney Jourard was a pioneer in the field of self-disclosure and body-awareness. Jourard was a ‘natural’ psychologist and he enjoyed creating curious experiments in and around the topic of many subjects including human touch. In one such experiment Jourard observed couples casually touching each other in cafes around the world. The highest rates of touch were in Puerto Rico where couples touched each other a staggering 180-times per hour. Paris were not far behind with 110-touches and then at the lower end of the scale you had the US with just two and the UK ran in at an impressive zero! I guess my father is not an isolated case!

So if touch is good for you what does a lack of touch do for you?

In the thirteenth century the German emperor Frederick II conducted a terrible experiment to determine the origin of language. The emperor isolated a number of newborn children and handed them to nurses who were forbidden to touch or talk to them. All the nurses did was provide food and liquid for the children. The emperor was curious to see what language they would speak as they grew older but was left wanting after they all died without a single word leaving their untouched lips.

Touching is good. In fact it’s more that just good; it is very healthy for you. Your skin is your largest organ in the body so it should come as no surprise that it needs just as much love care and attention as the other major organs in your body. If we are going to eat well in order to help our liver and exercise to keep the blood pumping through the heart then we also need to be touched and touched regularly.  As usual healing starts with awareness so next we need to find ways of getting your fair share of fingers and thumbs without getting a slap across the face.

Hug kiss and cuddle with those you love when you get your hair done make sure you have a good shampoo and rinse hold hands when you walk down the street with your loved one and in your own private time give your partner an all-over body massage. You don’t have to be a professional massage therapist in order to deliver touch and luckily for you we doubt you will receive too many complaints!

Maybe I will book my father in for an appointment?

Lee Davy is a writer from Ogmore Vale in South Wales. You can follow his views and opinions through his blog at or on Twitter @Chingster23

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