How social distance affects our health
Have you ever thought about the importance of touching? A hug as a greeting. Shaking hands. Kissing each other on the cheeks. A padding on the back.
This used to be normal. You probably touched people every day, without even noticing.
We now have to stay 1,5 meter or 2 meters away from each other.
How does that affect us as a human being?
Well if you look scientifically, humans need touch! From research we know that new born babies are more likely to die if they don’t get touched. Very sad research by the way. But it shows, we are healthier if we are being touched.
Why is this?
Well, first let’s explain how the sense of touch works. It is a complex process, but you can say that a stimulus triggers activity in a sensory neuron. Then it travels to the part of our brain that is assigned to the proper body location.
So this is how touch works in our body.
But why is touch healthy?
Touch stimulates the brain to release endorphins. We call that happy hormones. When you get a hug, a caress, a kiss, a handshake of someone you like, your cortisol (stress hormones) decreases. Your blood pressure and heart rate can even be reduced by touch.
So touch can de-stress, relax us.
This goes for professional massages, as we always teach in our lessons. But all these positive effects you can also feel (a bit less maybe) when you receive a touch from someone.
However, everything has changed.
We are all at home. Maybe you are with a loved one? Maybe you are with your kids? Maybe you are alone?
We are in a strange situation. If you do come outside you cannot come close to others. You can not give kisses, hugs, shaking hands. We have to keep a distance of 1,5 meters or 2 meters between each other.
But humans are in need of touch.
We can decrease stress and can become healthier by touching each other. So why not try to massage each other? Even if you are not a professional massage therapist. Make yourself and your loved ones happier, healthier and stress-free by massage. And if you don’t have the opportunity to massage each other, just touch each other if you can.
Because how would it affect us in the long run if we don’t get touched anymore?
Think about it.
Have a lovely day with lots of touch, of course only if you can, and only with your house mates!
Stay safe, healthy and happy! We are in this together!
Manel & Nicole
Massage School ITM Thai Hand Amsterdam
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