A prominent psychotherapist who is generally acknowledged as a pioneer in family therapy, has spoken about the importance of touching and hugs as it relates to a person’s emotional health.
From the time you were born until the day you die, touching is an important part of your emotional and physical health.
Infants deprived of touching grow up with developmental and cognitive delays, attachment disorders and higher risk of serious infections. On the other hand, premature infants who are held skin-to-skin exhibit better cognitive skills are more resilient to stress and have more organized sleep patterns even 10 years later.
These early touch-based interventions demonstrate the need for touching in psychological regulation. The benefits of touching don’t diminish with age.
The late Virginia Satir, psychotherapist and generally acknowledged as a pioneer in family therapy, spoke about the importance of touching and hugs as it relates to a person’s emotional health, saying “We need [four] hugs a day for survival. We need [eight] hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”
This may represent the minimum and optimum thresholds to generate sufficient oxytocin, a hormone released by your pituitary gland in response to physical touch. The simple act of hugging may not only increase your bond with others, but may also boost your physical and emotional health.
The simple act of hugging may not only increase your bond with others, but may also boost your physical and emotional health.
The importance of touching
In the absence of touching, children become almost unrecognizable, developing personality disorders and other conditions that make it difficult for them to live in society. Historical reports of children who grew up “feral,” or in the wild without the benefit of touching show they often have difficulty assimilating into a group.
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