What has happened to our ability to communicate through touch? A handshake to connect, or a pat on the back for a job well done has been eradicated. And heaven knows, there is no such things as a hug any more. People are hungry and thirsty for social connection in this time of every type of distancing imaginable. The hard part of all of this, is that there are some very real changes going on within your biochemistry and your brain skills. They may be changed irreparably. When we fail to use the largest sense organ of the body, our skin, we limit our incoming information. We fail to process many types of sensations and reduce what ability we have to make judgments and decide about many things in our world. Is is smooth or rough? Does it scratch? Can we enjoy the feel of that item or that one? Does it help us connect to others or our world?

On the lowest layer of the skin, the dermis, there are sensory neurons that process signals for all reactions the body.  They tell us whether things are painful, hot, or cold.  Processing this information allows us to display happiness and even empathy for our fellow humans. These signals are responsible for the physical and emotional connections that make us happy and relaxed.

Now that you are aware of this, how can we avoid being isolated by not being able to touch? Her are 3 simple things you can do to reduce the impact of the lack of touch and make you sensory touch system continue to work.

1. Use contact with your immediate family and pets to release the sensory chemical oxytocin that helps create the bonds of connection.

2. Get into nature. A walk outside helps connect you with the world and allows the senses to work properly.

3. Connect with a friend via a video chat, FaceTime or on a platform such as ZOOM. The ability to see someone else and observe their face can comfort you and give your sensory skills a workout.

You will feel more like yourself in the end- and isn’t that what we all want? To feel like the best self we can be???

What has happened to our sense of touch?