Staggering Research reveals Human Touch can Reduce Pain

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After a long day, toiling in the office or managing the household chores, there is nothing more relaxing than a warm embrace from your better half. There is something magical about a kiss, a hug, human touch; it instantly relieves stress and anxiety.

The Healing Power of Touch

Holding hands with your partner is enormously calming, but touch can do a lot more than just generate a warm and fuzzy feeling. A recent study has found that holding hands or just touching a loved one can reduce the physical pain they are experiencing.

The claim made by the researchers, is based on a series of tests that 22 couples were made to undergo. The tests were implemented with women as the ‘pain targets’ and men as the ‘observers.’ The brain waves, breathing and pulse rates of each couple were measured under three different circumstances – keeping each partner in separate rooms, keeping them together without physical contact, and keeping them together with physical contact (holding hands).

The researchers repeated the same tests again with one change. The women in the group were given mild heat pain on their forearms. The body metrics collected during the two halves of the experiment were analyzed. Interestingly, it was found that the brain waves, breathing, and heart rates of couple holding hands synced. Furthermore, holding hands – the touch of a loved one – actually reduced the physical pain in the women participants.

Why Touch Reduces Pain

Kind words and physical touch comfort a person in pain, figuratively. But, how can touching or holding hands with someone reduce their pain? Experts claim - and through this study have proved, that a partner’s touch releases “feel-good” and “pain-relief” hormones in the person experiencing pain.

We learn the importance of touch at a young age, but the sense of touch is a lot more than a physical act. When you touch a person you care about, the physical act has a deep psychological meaning. Sometimes, touch signifies love (I’m here and I’ll always be here for you), empathy (I know how you’re feeling), and acknowledgment (I heard you, I understand you). The act of touching brings two people closer; it connects the body, mind, and soul, and when this happens, the body produces “feel-good” hormones. It’s also widely believed that touch can lessen anxiety, reduce stress, and help relieve several physical disorders.

Why Touch Is Such a Powerful Force

Touch – The Language of Love

We’re surrounded by so much negativity, anger and bias; that at the end of a tough, long day, we seek love and assurance from our loved ones. Interestingly, the physical act of touch can be the best way to express love and affection. Touch is considered by many the language of love, the best way to build intimacy.

Touch Builds Trust

Is the positive effect of touch limited to couples? No, it’s believed that touch helps build trust between friends, relatives, coworkers and even with strangers.

Employees tend to perform better when employers shake their hand or pat their shoulder as a gesture of encouragement.

Similarly, in sports, gestures such as a pat on the back, hugs, chest bumps, fist bumps, high-fives, and so on, are used to encourage, express support, and celebrate success – behaviours that build trust among team members.

Touch Is More Effective than Words

This is particularly true when the other person is sad, upset, or angry. When your words can induce a heated response, further worsening the situation, the best approach would be to touch or a slight physical contact that shows acceptance and understanding. Sometimes, the best way to calm an angry loved one is by giving them a hug.