We typically think of touch as a pleasant, but not particularly important part of life. But touch, which is the interface between our bodies and the outside world, does a lot more than bring us sensual pleasure.
The sensation of touch is a fundamental part of our daily experience, influencing what we buy, who we love and even how we heal. We use this sense to gather information about our surroundings and as a means of establishing trust and social bonds with other people.
Touch can be therapeutic.
Therapeutic massage can be useful for a number of physical and mental ailments. These therapeutic applications include pain relief, addiction recovery, and maintaining emotional equilibrium, cognitive function and mobility among an aging population. Massage can be an effect way to treat anxiety, insomnia, headaches and digestive problems. So go get that massage you’ve been waiting for, it’s highly recommended!
Touch is a critical part of our relationships.
When it comes to social situations, the primary purpose of touch is to forge trust and cooperation. Friendly touch communicates to someone, you can trust me. Touch in a romantic relationship, (both sexual and non-sexual) is enormously important. Touch is the glue that makes social bonds.
Our brain processes touch in two different pathways.
One is a sensory pathway, which provides facts about touch -- like vibration, pressure, location and fine texture. The second pathway processes social and emotional information, which is associated with social bonding, pleasure and pain.
The emotional context changes our physical experience of touch.
Touch can actually feel physically different based on the social context of the encounter. It's not just that the context is different - it will actually feel different, depending on who it’s coming from.
Touch changes with age.
Did you know that our sense of touch is vulnerable to the effects of age? We actually lose our sense of touch as we get older, starting around the age of 18. Every year after, we lose around one percent of our tactile sense.