As we celebrate “A Touch of Love” this Valentine’s Day, we want to take time to explore this most highly underrated of the five senses and provide some meaning to the power of touch. It has been scientifically proven that people feel more satisfied in a relationship in which physical affection is a significant part. But should the touch of love be exclusive to couples?
Did you know that touch is the first sense to develop? It is the primary way in which a baby “feels” love. But touch plays a positive role throughout everyone’s life. In a review of studies on touch, Alberto Gallace, Department of Psychology, University of Milan-Bicocca, and Charles Spence, Crossmodal Research Laboratory, Department of Experimental Psychology, Oxford University, describe the positive effects of touch in an abstract for Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews:
- Elderly nursing home residents often feel unwanted or unloved because of a lack of physical contact with others
- Customers respond more positively to a tasting and purchasing request in a supermarket when they are touched by an experimenter posing as a store assistant.
- Bus drivers are more likely to give a passenger a free ride if they touch him while making the request.
- Individuals who have been touched are more likely to agree to participate in mall interviews.
Gallace and Spence argue that “Even the briefest touch from another person can elicit strong emotional experiences.”
A shortage of touch often carries negative connotations, as in the expression “out of touch with reality,” while a deeply-felt experience is often described as “touching.” In her book Touch, Tiffany Field, Ph.D., Director of the renowned Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine, claims, “In many circumstances, touch is stronger than verbal or emotional contact. Touch is critical for children’s growth, development, and health, as well as for adults’ physical and mental well-being.” Fields argues that many societies, such as current American society, are dangerously touch-deprived—accordingly, many people today suffer from a shortage of tactile stimulation, which she terms “touch hunger.” Regular massage can be one way to feed your touch hunger!
In the Foreword to Fields’ book, Massage Therapy Research, Leon Chaitow opens with: “Massage works. Massage eases pain—even in intractable settings. It also reduces psychological distress; modulates the effects of stress; improves sleep, mood and behavior; enhances circulation; encourages improved bowel and breathing function; and raises immunity —among many benefits.The evidence is now so overwhelming as to the efficacy of massage therapy in these and a host of other diverse settings—from pregnancy to prematurity (and reducing the chances of prematurity), ADHD to autism, stroke to surgery, leukemia to low back pain—that it is a wonder that government agencies, insurance companies and corporations are not falling over themselves to take advantage of this low-tech, safe, almost universally beneficial therapeutic approach!”
Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spas was founded on the principle to bring the benefits of massage (along with the luxury spa experience of massage and facials) to everyone—through affordable introductory and Lifestyle membership rates—and to make massage more convenient with accessible locations and convenient hours.
This Valentine’s Day, we make it easy to celebrate a Touch of Love with special offers on Gift Card purchases for Members – our biggest savings of the year!