Health (and happiness!) is just an arm's length away ...
Hug your friend when you meet for lunch. Hold your spouse's hand when you run errands together. Shake hands with your boss when you make a successful deal.
These are all palpable ways of creating strong bonds within ANY kind of relationship.
But did you know that touch is a basic somatic necessity for humans and other animals?
Psychologist Dr. Stan Tatkin explains in the video above, "The very top of influence in our somatic experience is touch. Second to that is eye contact because we have a visual brain."
Why is touch at the top of the list?
According to Dr. Dacher Keltner of UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center, "[Touch is] our primary language of compassion, and our primary means for spreading compassion." Compassion is the foundation to any strong relationship, humans and other animals alike. It enables us to build trust (which helps these relationships thrive), enjoy another person's company and build a sense of safety with that person.
With this in mind, using your sense of touch can remedy various health issues without needing a prescription from your doctor. It reinforces the trust, safety and bonding love in any relationship.
Here are two hands-on remedies to put to good use on your loved ones:
1. Use Touch As A Soothing Stress-Reliever
Have you ever wondered why your stress and anxiety simply melt away as you cuddle or hug your romantic partner or spouse? Warm snuggling, caressing and massaging always do the trick after that long, stressful week. Dr. Dacher Keltner says, "It activates the body's vagus nerve, which is intimately involved with our compassionate response, and a simple touch can trigger release of oxytocin — AKA 'the love hormone.'"
So this weekend, grab your warm blanket and your lover. It's time for a healthy cuddle sesh!
2. Use Touch To Calm An Alzheimer's Disease Patient
Massage therapy has been making a HUGE difference in Alzheimer's disease treatment. While age has taken control of the minds of these patients, it has not hindered their sense of compassionate connection with others. Touch through massage therapy relaxes people with Alzheimer's disease during episodes of anxiety, confusion and depression.
Michelle Vallet of the American Massage Therapy Association says that massage therapy can increase body awareness and alertness, and "can also help ease the effects of isolation, loneliness and boredom while encouraging feelings of worthiness and well-being." So if you know someone close to you suffering from Alzheimer's disease, offer that person a helping and loving hand.
Not only does it help for all the reasons above, Dr. Tatkin also points out that "there's nothing like a hug for health and lowering stress. And it also makes you feel good."
Scroll up to hear some other great points Dr. Stan Tatkin has for why touch is so vital for our lives and relationships. And don't forget to reach out and hug your loved ones today because it can keep them happy and healthy!