The power of touch

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A mother cuddles her newborn to give the assurance of safety and love. Lovers touch to pledge ‘you are the one’. Friends hug to welcome each other, and even some strangers kiss.

The therapist touches to effect so many changes in the human body that re-kindle and rejuvenate. The elderly, when touched, know they do not have to fear death or face it alone and that it is alright to die. We were made for physical intimacy and to be emotionally expressive. We never outgrow our need for touch, and no remedy is complete without it. Researchers have shown:

1. Immunity is lowered when pleasurable body contact and socialising are lacking.

2. People ill-treated or neglected in infancy reciprocate when they have their own offspring.

3. The lack of early intimacy translates into being ignorant about mating and being hostile to newborns.

4. When one is held and caressed, love resonates through the whole being.

5. In cultures where the mind is considered superior to the emotions and the body, people learn to mistrust perceptions, sensations and emotions. They strive to be somebody else and not live their experiences.

Covid-19 has sent the scientists and the medical experts into a state of forgetfulness. Their predecessors have filled the archives with endless research informing them of the significance of touch.

The largest sensor of the human body is the skin, through which we literally stay in touch with the world. Our central nervous system is fed information from the outside through it, and the brain and spinal cord facilitate transmission.

So, when we are asked to discard our feelings and repress our emotions, the being is disappointed, for laughing, crying, exclaiming, sighing and yelling are outlawed. Social distancing puts us in glass cages and soon we will become mani- kins. The restrictions inhibit breathing and abdominal movement, rendering the digestive tract sluggish.

With the bodily systems absorbing less oxygen, the immune system is compromised and we cannot inspire our bodies to combat mode.

We have given licence to Covid-19 to decimate the world by curtailing expression. The individual is restrained from physically interacting with the environment, limiting muscle tone, making muscles flaccid or taut and creating further tension.

The increase in tension introduces another negative, this time affecting the lymphatic system which can only operate with exercise and massage. Emotional blockages will bring the body to a gradual halt eventually.

Soon we would become numb to the source and type of emotions, unable to trace their origin or even to recognise they existed or that we are holding something back. Perfect robots.

When Covid-19 goes into remission, we will be left with numerous tactile problems if the present trend continues. It seems re-engineering humans into abnormal beings is the new normal.

Let’s pray for good sense to prevail, nature to take its course, and the right food utilised for the body to repair itself. And put Covid to rest.

Lennox Francis