Having had some treatments recently in massage and body work, I am reminded of the seriousness of touch deprivation. I live alone and am not in any kind of intimate relationship. After having been married for 20 years and having children who were very cuddly and tactile, it was a shock to my system to have all of that removed from my life. I believe strongly that as humans we are meant to live differently than we do in the Western culture in this regard.

When I visited Africa for some time and stayed in the villages I noticed that the people were touching each other all of the time – as they walked along the road, sat around to talk, worked, during nearly everything in life. It was not at all, ever sexual; it was like puppies who pile up together or sit side to side together, breathing together. There are certain chemicals released in the body and brain when healthy touch takes place, and we are deficient in those chemicals when we do not experience touch. Babies who do not receive it will not grow. I believe it is the same in adults, and that the lack of it leads to problems physically, emotionally and psychologically.

Touch has become something in our culture that has sexual connotations unless it is family of origin members touching. Even little children in school aren’t allowed to touch each other. Teachers can’t hug their little students. I think this is a tragic loss and an ailment. I would love to figure out how to help our culture move forward with wisdom in this regard.

One Response to “Touch”

  1. Karen Nilsen Says:

    I couldn’t agree more. As someone who lives alone as well, I know how much a hug or friendly pat on the back can make my day better. Touch is so important–it reminds us that we are all interconnected and in one human family.

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