Why Does Touch Feel Good?

Posted on March 8th, 2013 by Shari´ Parks

This week’s blog is an excerpt of ABMP’s Massage and Bodywork magazine.

Humans and other animals use touch to communicate, explore their environment, heal, learn, sense danger and more. On a monecular level, it is the least understood of all the senses. It is not know how these neurons respond to force. Our ability to sense touch is known to develop early and remain ever-present in our lives.

Recently, scientists discovered answers to some questions.

Q:Is direct skin to skin contact more effective than mechanized stroking?
A:Yes, the neural response to human touch is greater than similar touch with an inanimate object.

Q:Why does the same touch cause one person to cringe and pull away and another to breathe deeply and relax?
A:The hair on our skin makes our skin a social organ, processing social touch.

Some of the applied science studies on gentle touch had conclusive results. In a study at Univ. of Ill at Chicago, a team worked with patients with Multiple Sclerosis to reduce grip force. Excessive gripping is common in those with MS and results in fatigue. Gentle touch applied to the affected hand was shown to significantly reduce the grip force.

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