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Lost touch: how a year without hugs affects our mental health
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)


The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers), January 24, 2020
Posted: January 31st, 2021
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2021/jan/24/lost-to...

The need for touch exists below the horizon of consciousness. Before birth, when the amniotic fluid in the womb swirls around us and the foetal nervous system can distinguish our own body from our mother’s, our entire concept of self is rooted in touch. As adults, we may not comprehend the importance of touch even when it disappears. “We might begin to realise that something is missing, but we won’t always know that it’s touch,” says Prof Francis McGlone, a neuroscientist. “But when we talk about the problem of loneliness, we often ignore the obvious: what lonely people aren’t getting is touch.” As the pandemic continues, many of us will be trying to cope with profound stress without the comfort of touch. The total absence of touch ... contravenes the hardwiring that regulates us from our preverbal years. In these times of touch deprivation there is no real substitute for what we get from other humans, but there are ways to soothe ourselves. We may be able to experience touch vicariously. Researchers have found that seeing touch (on TV or in films, for example) – particularly social, affective or pet touch – can give us some of the benefits of feeling touch. This is not a permanent or complete substitute, but a partial one. A hunger for touch is a signal that a primitive need is not being met. But evolution is on our side. Every scientist I spoke to was hopeful that, once we can come together again, we will adjust quickly.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and health from reliable major media sources.


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