In a continued quest to complete wellness, there are often some aspects that we realise we have overlooked. Like getting caught up in the moment, work, and life, we forget a basic essential for our humanity – like touch. Delve into the reasons why touch wellness is something you will want to keep in check for yourself, friends, and others.

The role of friends

A recent show has taken the world by storm not just for its great storyline and immersive universe, but for the incredible relationships between the characters. Stranger Things is a reminder of the intensity of love, dedication, and commitment that friends can have in their growing-up years. Their peer group saved their lives and their world.

Many of us have experienced this in our childhood/adolescence, albeit under less dramatic circumstances. But not less threatening.  

Within generations of latch-key kids (of whom I am a part), the role of friends became pivotal in our survival. From providing food, shelter, or the basics of loving touch and a listening ear, many of us were cared for by our friends.

In Gabor Mate’s new book “The Myth of Normal” and an older collaboration between Mate and Gordon Neufeld “Hold Onto Your Kids,” both discuss the importance of our peer groups. These researchers describe the strength and power of these bonds to explain why parents need to be so much more connected and involved from perinatal onwards.

 For some children, the only safe place was in the company of their friends. Relying on friends to hold space for tears shed, walls punched, or brainstorming schemes to get out of life’s jams. In other words, providing the comfort of touch wellness when their parents could not.

Did you have a “person” growing up? Do you still know them? What has changed in the relationship or the friend, and what is exactly the same?

Touch wellness – the importance of touch

 I am a big fan of contact as my family will attest. The truth is that all mammals are in dire need of touch and are not getting enough. And so, we yearn for that sensation of contact and glow of unconditional love that a hug or a physical game might provide.

I still remember moments from childhood when we would brush each other’s hair, draw on our backs to guess pictures or words, and play house.

The mamma (usually in animal form), would care for the baby and the mamma and pappa would support each other in their care of the babies. The need for closeness, intimacy, tender touch and care could not be ignored. And whether we knew it or not, we provided this to our friends.

Meeting your touch wellness needs

Are your touch needs met in your adult life?

The number of opportunities for loving touch required for basic health and wellness? Eight hugs per day. Research finds that we need eight to maintain health and well-being, and then 12 per day for growth.

Touch wellness exercise

To explore the immensity of touch wellness in practice, try an exercise. Hug someone you love (or like a lot) for 20 seconds a day for a week. There is evidence that this kind of deep hug alleviates stress and reduces burnout

The benefits include: 

  • Releasing oxytocin
  • Lowering your blood pressure
  • Slowing the heart
  • Improving your mood

Stay on top of touch and more

Venture into more of our holistic approaches to the body, mind and beyond with our collection of articles. For more tailored wellness experiences, contact our team of specialists.

Kathlyn McHugh RCC, RSW Counselling Practice takes place at the Vitality Clinic in the West Shore Area, close to Victoria BC.

Visit the website at: Home – The Vitality Clinic