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The art of affective touch and its many benefits

Updated: Mar 26, 2021

It's Official: We all need to be touched

I love the reading newspapers it makes me feel all grown up. The act of getting a newspaper is very optimistic as I imagine having the luxury of time and concentration to read the whole paper. I have yet to earn the bonus points if I read the paper on the day it is printed.

This morning I started clearing a pile of paperwork on the dining table, a menacing tower at risk of toppling at any moment. Anyone else have these menacing towers or life admin? or good strategies to manage them?

An article that caught my eye was from Tuesday's edition of The Times by Helen Rumbelow, concerning large survey into touch and how much we want it. Quite ironic as we practice social distancing due to Covid-19 here in the UK

I love when the evidence base for a loving touch is celebrated, indeed there are a large number of studies that support the many benefits of affective touch.

Affective touch is the kind of stroking a parent would share with their baby in baby massage sessions contrast this to brief touch like a handshake or tap of the elbow to elbow. Rhythmic affective touch has the ability to soothe the C tactile afferent nerve that sends signals to the brain that are linked to levels of oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin - the wellbeing cocktail of the body.

Reading this article also reminded me of my training with the IAIM. I remember how I was fascinated and deeply impacted by the book "Why Love Matters" by Sue Gerhart a psychoanalytic psychotherapist. The book explores the link between babyhood practices and the impact these may have on later life development. I think I will be hunting out my copy and having a re-read.

If you want to find out more about baby massage sessions do get in touch. If I am not in your locality or not your cup of tea don't forget I am part of a team of highly skilled IAIM infant massage instructors working together to share evidence-based baby massage practices with families. Take care, Nita