Join us for Still Rockin’: A Night of Music to Support Programming and Resources for Older Adults

Join us for Still Rockin’: A Night of Music to Support Programming and Resources for Older Adults

We are social and physical beings, but in our culture we are afraid of being inappropriate or giving people the wrong idea. As a result, we’ve been taught to refrain from touching. Researchers have studied the amount of touching that takes place during conversations in various countries only to find we are nearly at the bottom of the list with the least amount of touching. Yet, the emotional and physical health benefits in recent studies established touch as fundamental to human communication, bonding and wellbeing. In other words, Michelangelo might have had it right when he stated, “To touch can be to give life.” Apparently, we are not only able to recognize love, gratitude and compassion through touch, but we can also make a distinction between those categories more easily from touch than through facial and vocal communication. So to answer last week’s questions…yes, touch does mean more than words or actions, and the body recognizes touch as showing we truly care. It turns out that touch is the language of compassion and by touching we spread kindness.

According to Edmund Rolls’ research, touch activates the part of the brain that is linked to feelings of reward and compassion. Signals of trust and safety are launched when we are touched that has been proven to calm cardiovascular strain. Oxytocin, known as the love hormone, is released in the brain. Touch reinforces reciprocity; thus, strengthening supportive relationships. A recent study observed NBA basketball teams to discover a connection between touch and winning. Those whose players touch each other more with encouraging pats, hugs and high-fives during games actually win more games. Other studies that monitored brain activity in MRI Scans have shown the calming effect touch provides to counter act threat and stress.

Touch is also transforming the way medicine is practiced. Studies are showing that survival rates have improved in patients with compound diseases when they receive a pat on the back from their doctor. Furthermore, Alzheimer’s patients are more relaxed, less depressed and feel more connected with others in studies when touch is increased. Even students are more likely to participant in class when instructors have offered an encouraging pat on the back.

Get into the habit of touch. Here’s how:

Regardless of your approach, the message will be translated and emphasized through your touch. And it has the power to improve the health of your patients, increase the sales within your company, produce a winning team and foster goodwill overall. So, as the classic 1984 AT&T commercial says – Reach out, reach out and touch someone.    

Information taken from:

Carrie Robertson
Research & Community Education

Chicago Skilled Nursing
Chicago Senior Living

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