Skin hunger is a biological need for human touch. This is why babies in the neonatal intensive care unit are placed on their parents' breasts, and prisoners in solitary confinement crave human contact as much as freedom.
When vagus tone rises, heart rate, blood pressure, and stress hormone levels decrease and relaxation occurs. In addition, touch stimulates the production of oxytocin, which is also released during sex and childbirth. In other words, touch is good for us: it makes us calmer and more joyful.
Without touch, both the physical and the emotional state of a person deteriorates. Experiments on monkeys have shown that not touching has a negative impact on health. Neuroscientist Alberto Gallace of the University of Milan Bicocca explains: “Our brains are programmed to enjoy touch because humans are social creatures and being together increases our chances of survival.” pandemics, many developed countries risked becoming touch-free zones due to the ban on touch in schools and government offices.
Field's Tactile Research Institute conducted research at airports around the world to find out how often people touch each other while waiting to board a flight, and after social distancing measures were introduced, people who live alone were deprived of touch for months. ... This is all the more dangerous, given that skin hunger weakens the immune system, and therefore increases the risk of contracting coronavirus.
Right now, we need the touch of other people the most. Touching has a positive effect on immunity by lowering cortisol levels. High cortisol levels weaken the immune system, as cortisol kills natural killers - the white blood cells that kill viruses. Field adds that touching increases the production of natural killer cells, even in cancer patients and AIDS-positive people.
Gallace is concerned about the possible mental health consequences of skin hunger for those who self-isolate alone, especially given that the pandemic is stressful in itself. Through touch, we comfort each other. Lack of touch makes the situation more stressful.Touching the skin raises serotonin levels. Low serotonin levels can cause insomnia, anxiety, and depression. Touching the skin before going to bed promotes deep sleep. During deep sleep, substance P is released, which reduces the perception of pain and increases resistance to emotional stress. As is often the case in life, we do not realize the importance of touch until we lose touch.
You won't be able to do Zoom yoga all day. Sooner or later we will have to accept skin hunger and come to terms with the fact that we will most likely have to live without touch until the vaccine is created. And, possibly, longer. After so many months of shying away from each other, can we return to the usual state of affairs.