The Healing Power of Touch

Maybe it’s just the hopeless romantic in me, but I believe (and have for many years) that something as simple as human touch can heal many problems- both mine, and those of the world.

This thinking process dates back to when I was very young. I grew up in a very huggy family, though I know not everyone did. I suppose it isn’t so much that my family was filled with huggers and I was a hugger. I loved hugs as a kid- I still do actually, although these days it’s usually considered sexual harassment to hug someone in the workplace, so my hugs are usually saved for good friends and my family. I will hug you when I greet you- first time or 50th- Unless, again, it’s in the workplace.

Anyway, I remember the healing power of touch while I was growing up. I fell off of my bike- there was a hug and kiss. I was sick, there was a hug and warm hands tucking me in or feeding me soup. When I was sad, there was always a lap that I was pulled in to and then I was usually snuggled or tickled to within an inch of my life. Sometimes, I was read a story, and that was always my favorite distraction of the three. I hope that if I ever lose the ability to read myself that someone in my life will read to me. But I digress.

As an unmarried, childless adult who has been living on my own for almost ten years now, I find that the healing power of touch is often missing in my day-to-day life. When you fall off your bike at the age of 27, you can’t exactly wail and reach your arms out towards your dad. When you’re sick, especially when you’re single and sick but sometimes even when in a relationship and sick, there is no one to hold back your hair when you’re keeled over with the stomach flu and no one to bring you chicken broth when your throat is sore. When you had a bad day, you take solace in a glass of wine instead of grandma’s lap because it always seems like that is the ONE day no one is free to hang out.

I’m not saying that I WANT to crawl into someone’s lap when I’m sad, but I suppose if it were an option, I’d probably take advantage from time to time. And I’m not sure why, but whenever I’m sick, I often find myself thinking “I wish my mom were here.” The truth is, I think that physical touch is really missing in the adult world- and it holds so many powerful positives.

There is a book by Gary Chapman called The 5 Love Languages. It is a very quick read, but more or less it breaks us all down into a love category- the type of love that we find most rewarding. This is the type of love that when given to us makes us feel our best. I highly recommend reading it and then sharing your copy with anyone that you wish you knew a little bit better. It’s a real eye opener.

Without a shadow of a doubt, I knew that I was at least somewhat in the physical touch category after reading the book. Keep in mind that physical love doesn’t simply include sex. It is so much more powerful than that. Physical love is hugging, kissing, holding hands, shaking hands, holding someone, putting your hand on a shoulder when you speak to them, sitting next to someone as they cry- the physical ACT of BEING.

I’m aware that not everyone shares my love language and that not everyone longs for that extra hug or for someone to just be with them from time to time. What would be the point of the book if we all shared the same love language? However, I truly believe that if we were all even just slightly more aware- more in tune- with the needs of others- be they physical or otherwise, we would live in a much more positive world. And until I’m told otherwise by someone, I’m going to try to solve a lot of their issues by hugging it out.


  1. I agree with so much of this post. I believe touch is really, really, REALLY powerful too (literally and metaphorically). But in this fast paced, highly sexualized, heavily male identified culture, simple affection is rarely valued unless coupled together with sex -which I see you made mention of – or exercised toward ‘children.’ But touching people can be an aim to impact the lives of others positively as well. Contributing to them in some way, it could be simply llistening, tuning in, valuing their voice, or giving them a helping hand without them asking or something. Leaving them, moved, leaving their life slightly better in your wake…

    But all of these things along with the value of physical touch is getting buried more and more – in my opinion.

    *Love this post. First time I’ve seen someone on WP write about it too.*

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