Thursday, 3 April 2014

The Importance of Human Contact

Growing up in a tactile family meant I was a compulsive hugger and my three children can testify to that.  I need sufficient hugs on a daily basis to survive! 

As a holistic health practitioner I understand the importance and power of a simple touch.  This kind of healing touch is non-sexual and supportive and is vital for wellbeing.  Think back to when you were a child, you may have fallen and cut your knee, your instinct is to press your hand to the wound and then find your mum who would do the same, with the added benefit of a cuddle.

A simple touch can affect your mood, your wellbeing, your emotions and your confidence.

When I work with my holistic clients I need to ascertain what kind of touch therapy will be the most beneficial.  This may be a deep massage for a reasonably healthy individual, or it may be Reiki (an energy healing treatment which is non-invasive and gentle) for a client who is ill or frail.

The power of touch is not exclusive to humans, pets need this connection just as much as we do.  It has been well documented that stroking a pet can reduce blood pressure.

I am fascinated by the holistic relationship between our body, mind and emotions.  Touch is one of the least studied senses and yet the lack of this simple act can be so detrimental to our health.

Although touch is hugely important in our development and wellbeing, simple interaction with other people is also necessary.

Studies have been conducted, such as Dr McClintock's, from the Institute of Mind and Biology, who found that rats living in groups lived 40% longer than those housed by themselves. 

Let's look at the value of touch and human interaction on our lives:
  • Bonding - from the moment we are born we crave to be touched and surrounded by familiar people.  Hugs and stories are vital to our development.
  • Optimism - Ever found yourself in a group of dynamic people and been caught up in their energy?  You feed of each others optimism and this boosts your positive attitude.
  • Health benefits - lower stress levels and reduced blood pressure along with a sense of calm and feeling supported can all be attributed to touch.
  • Sense of belonging - whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, we all have a need to feel connected.  This can be through touch or conversation, either way it's essential to our personal development.
Running my own business is one of my biggest achievements, however, this means I also work alone, from home.  I am lucky to have an army of incredible clients who I see daily, but the treatments I offer are relaxed and often quiet, so my conversational interactions can be brief (although I'm sure some of my clients would disagree!)  Some of my good friends also run their own businesses and find themselves alone 90% of their day.

I believed this was just a part of the entrepreneur lifestyle until I attended my first networking event on Monday evening.

This event was held at the luxurious Hampton Manor Hotel and was hosted by BB Boutique, The Solihull Concierge and GX8 Media, Marketing & Design, and it all started life as a simple twitter feed between local businesses.

Their vision was to bring as many local businesses together through the power of twitter - it worked.  Hundreds of companies joined in and every Tuesday evening between 7pm and 8pm, these companies chatted and re-tweeted and interacted via #solihullhour

The team who organised this, took the interaction one step further and organised a face-to-face event.  Allowing all the local businesses to put a face to the name, meet up, swap details and share that all important human contact - Solihull Hour was born.

I have always understood the value of touch and human contact for the benefit of my clients, but until that night, I hadn't realised just how much I needed it.

There are hundreds of networking and support groups available, whether you need this for business or social reasons.  Take advantage, get out from behind your desk or jump off that sofa and go meet people. 

Don't become trapped by social media - remember the importance of human contact.

I would love to hear your thoughts about the power of touch and human interaction.

Do you attend networking events?

Photographs courtesy of 

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