Health Benefits of Touch
This month’s theme for the Healthy Nurse Healthy New Jersey initiative is SKIN HEALTH with the focus on Quality of Life – Mind, Body, and Spirit.
Skin is the biggest organ of the human body, and it is as important as the other organs of the body in ensuring our survival. With that said, it is important to have healthy skin care practices which should include the practice of touch and receiving touch. It seems strange, but it is so true! To touch and receive touch are important to keeping our skin and overall body, mind, and spirit healthy!
Why is touch healthy? The simple answer is because it feels good, but the truth is that touch produces the love hormone, oxytocin and it reduces stress hormones such as cortisol. Touch can boost our immune system, cause a relaxation response, connect us with others, and elevate our moods.
Because we are nurses, we routinely extend healthy touch to our patients, but we need to ensure that we receive healthy touch as well. How can we do that?
The healing benefits of touch are boundless, so try to get a healthy dose of it each day. Here are just a few simple ways to receive healthy touch:
- Cuddle a child, your partner, or an animal such as a dog or cat.
- Get a manicure or a pedicure and use the massage chairs if they are available to you.
- Give out hugs or take hugs (Healthy Nurses love hugs).
- Get a massage.
- Recognize that all the healthy touching we extend to our patients is healing to us as well; touching others gives us the same benefits of being touched.
- Apply lotions or oils to your own skin while applying light pressure or massage your own arms, legs, and feet.
The physiological response to touch is very complicated. For more information on its healing abilities, read the book Miracle Touch: A Complete Guide to Hands-On Therapies That Have the Amazing Ability to Heal by Debra Fulghum Bruce.
And here are two articles on Skin and Healthy Touch:
We wish you well on your Healthy Nurse journey!
Tracey Jaworski-Lucas, Munira Wells, and the Healthy Nurse Healthy New Jersey Team