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This condition appears to be more prevalent in western countries, as we tend to engage in friendly touch less often than in other parts of the world. The rise in use of technology and mobile devices, as well as fears around harassment are some of the reasons attributed to this growing problem. Yet touch is essential for our emotional, mental and physical wellbeing.
The experiment was to discover what language children would speak if raised without ever hearing anyone speaking. No language was learned. Every baby died before they could talk.
The year was Aggressive behaviour. The study showed that American adolescents spent less time touching and hugging their peers than their French counterparts, and instead displayed more self-touch and more aggressive verbal and physical behaviour. Interestingly when violent adolescents were provided with massage therapy, their empathy increased and the levels of violent behaviour went down.
Eight women talk about loneliness and craving touch during lockdown
While this may be attributed to a boost in serotonin levels, it still shows how powerful touch can be. Body image issues.
Touch plays a role in the formation of body image. One study of women with anorexia and bulimia showed a link between body image issues and greater touch deprivation in their childhood as well as in their current life. In contrast, another impact of touch deprivation is overeating, which may be a way of trying to fill an inner void that has come about through a lack of affection.
High stress levels. When the touch receptors beneath our skin are stimulated, it can help reduce cortisol levels and blood pressure, which therefore reduces stress. Conversely, when we are experiencing stress and lack touch, we may struggle to unwind. This is one of the many reasons why alternative holistic therapies, such as cuddle therapy are growing in popularity across the world, as people seek to find ways to address their skin hunger and keep stress in check.
However common s that you may be experiencing loneliness as a result of touch deprivation can include:. Touch deprivation can actually create a self-reinforcing cycle where we feel alienated from others and therefore begin to shy away from social contact.
What does it mean to be touch starved?
This could therefore lead to:. Mental health issues such as depression. Depression, low mood, anxiety and being withdrawn can be s of skin hunger.
Yet when these individuals receive healing touch, their depression levels have been shown to go down. Sexual dysfunction.
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High levels of anxiousness may increase tension within the body, which can lead to sexual dysfunction. Fear of attachment and unsatisfying relationships. Individuals suffering from touch deprivation may feel fearful towards becoming attached, and could be less likely to form secure attachments with other people. This could be down to the fact that these individuals are self-preoccupied, can suffer from excessive shyness and are anxious about reaching out and becoming involved in long-term intimacy. To learn more about touch deprivation, watch this TEDx talk.
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Touch starvation refers to the longing for touch or physical contact from other living beings.
Coronavirus and the subsequent lockdown has totally changed the way we live - weddings have been cancelledwe're celebrating birthdays alone and we might have to wear facemasks just to leave the house.