By Marina Aagaard, MFE
Right here, right NOW: Give yourself a pat on the back,
plus a good rubbing, from lower legs to head and ‘six-pack’.
Massage and pull on your earlobes, a wellness sense-‘attack’.
Caring for the sensitive sense of touch, that is the new black!
The sense of touch is controlled by a network of nerves and touch receptors, the somato-sensory system. Notice how you experience a whole world of different sensations: Hot, cold, rough, smooth, pressure, vibration, tickle and many more through these receptors:
Mechanoreceptors; texture, pressure and vibration.
Thermoreceptors; hot and cold.
Nociceptors; pain (keeps the body safe).
Proprioceptors; body positions (detect changes in muscle tension and length).
Pamper your body, your muscles, your skin and sense of touch with warmth*, water (hot and cold), smooth materials, touching, caress and massage (and self-massage, eg. with massage balls and foam rollers) for physical, mental, emotional and social well-being; it enhances recovery, reduces stress and increases general wellness.
* Warmth generally makes you feel safe, secure and positive; a study by Bargh and Williams ‘Experiencing physical warmth promotes interpersonal warmth’ showed, that people judged other people to be more generous and caring after they had briefly held a cup of hot coffee rather than a cup of cold (iced) coffee”.
(from their abstract: “Warmth” is the most powerful personality trait in social judgment, and attachment theorists have stressed the importance of warm physical contact with caregivers during infancy for healthy relationships in adulthood).
Your sense of touch not only affects how you feel physically and mentally, but also how you perceive the world around you.
Researcher John A. Bargh, PhD, says, that physical experiences “not only shape the foundation of our thoughts and perceptions, but influence our behavior toward others, sometimes just because we are sitting in a hard instead of a soft chair.”
His fellow researcher Christian C. Nocera states that touch and “greetings involving touch, such as handshakes and cheek kisses, may in fact have critical influences on our social interactions in an unconscious fashion.”
(from Sense of Touch Affects Our World View, Bill Hendrick, WebMD Health News).