The Miracle Of Touch On Memory, Concentration And Survival (by Martin Mak)
For hundreds of years, we have known that touch is not only a sensation that can be enjoyed, but it is also absolutely necessary for our survival. It was German emperor Frederick II who, through his cruel experiments back in the 13th century, discovered the human need for body contact. He devised experiments which involved a group of orphans who were separated from others in an orphanage. This group’s only contact was with the foster mother and wet nurses who bathed or nursed them. However, the women were neither allowed to speak nor show any affection to the children under their charge. The conclusion of this experiment was horrific – none of the children survived.
Touches are important, it is a means of creating relationships. As a matter of fact, humans cannot do without touch, it is just as important as food and water. Children and adults alike need hugs to give them a sense of security and safety. Kisses or even a squeeze of a hand give helps us express intimacy. There are many ways we express our social bonds through touch, a business-like handshake builds rapport and trust, a friendly pat on the back for a colleague or teammate give a sense of self-worth. Different cultures from around the world have different rituals concerning touch in their social settings. The Eskimos and the Maori people of New Zealand, for example, rub noses as a form of greeting. The Ipo of New Guinea tickle the chin, the equivalent of a handshake for the rest of us. Hugs, embraces and body contact promote health and well-being and psychologists agree that touch is an important aspect of human existence. The human skin is extremely sensitive to touch. There are close to 700 touch and pressure receptors on a single finger tip. These receptors help us feel minute irregularities of the skin as tiny as a 100th of a millimeter thick. This is as accurate as state of the art laser measuring instruments.
Today, scientists are beginning to find out how skin contact, massage or stroking affects the body and mind. Certain hormones are released when the sensory cells are touched in a mild and pleasant manner. Growth hormones are produced by young mammals when they are licked, cleaned and nudged by their mothers. Medical researchers have found that premature human babies breathe more deeply when they lie naked on their mother’s or father’s bellies for hours. The infant’s heartbeat may even slow down and can be a life-saver for the premature baby. Medical studies also confirm the calming and healthy aspect of massages. Newborn babies gain weight more quickly, have deeper sleep are less stressed and are more active.
Touch not only feels good but it enhances health and mental capability. A study on a group of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease show a combination of massage and electrical stimulation of the skin over a period of six weeks led to a dramatic improvement in both memory and mood. Other studies have concluded that healthy adults also benefit from just 15 minutes of massage per day. Test volunteers were able to solve mathematical problems faster and make fewer mistakes, as well as reporting that they felt calmer. Scientists believe oxytocin to be one of the hormones released, which produces a series of chain reaction opposite to the effects stress produces on the body. This leads to higher pain tolerance, lower blood pressure and more beneficial stimulation of the digestive system.
So if you’re having stress at work, studies or having difficulties with memory and concentration due to stress, give yourself a massage on the shoulders or the head. If you know of someone in the family having such problems, a 5-minute shoulder or head rub goes a very long way to a healthier and stronger emotional and physical state. It also goes a long way towards creating trust and bonds.
About the Author
Martin Mak has developed a program to help people improve their memory and enhance their learning experience. Find out how you can benefit from his free popular ecourse at, =>http://www.mightymemory.com/memoryarticle.html