The Power of Touch

Caylan - Norfolk, Virginia
Entered on June 5, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe in the power of touch. It has the power to bring people together in any situation. The simplest pat on the back or hug can brighten someone’s day. Society, however, looks down upon physical interaction in public. At work and school are restricted to the rehearsed lines of “good morning”, and “have a nice day”. It is sad that so many people we know live like this. People are afraid of getting within close range or having physical contact with each other. This lack of contact makes us feel fearful and misunderstood. The truth is; physical interaction between people connects us with one another. Being accepting and unafraid of other people is something we were born doing, but have been raised to believe it is unnatural.

Touch is the first of the five senses we develope as a fetus. Aswe grow, it is also the first we lose. This is because the world we live in today makes it hard to satisfy our needs of touch. By the time we are adults, we hardly even use this sense. In public we don’t even make eye contact with strangers. Eighty percent of everything we touch is hard and impersonal; the buttons on telephones and remotes, keys on a keyboard, machines and other devices. Over time the Western world has repressed casual touch between people. As the world is becoming more mechanical, computerized and artificial so are we. This is indirectly affecting us more than we realize.

Scientific research has proven that the need for touch is both emotionally and physically important and imperativethroughout our entire lives. We can’t kill someone with kindness, but we can with a lack of affection. Marasmus is an example of how the lack of touch can be fatal. A study done by doctors on the high mortality rat of babies in orphanages showed that in these intitutionalized systems there was a lack of love and physical touch to an extent that the babies died from no other cause. But the power of touch is not just needed with children. Research has also shown that the elderly benefit from touch too. Older people who are huggedand touched show signs of better memory, are more gregarious, and many outward signs of senility disappear. Touching makes it easier not only to love others, but to love ourselves as well. It doesn’t just save the day, marriages, or friendships, it can also save lives.