Monday, July 11, 2005

The best gift ever

Bob wrote:> The best gift ever? To be held in a loving embrace.

This may be the most important gift that anyone can give to anyone else. However, it lasts for too short a period. It needs to be repeated.

At least one major study has shown that we humans need 12 hugs per day (or some equivalent) to be fully satisfied. We can get by with a minimum of eight hugs.

What happens to those who have fewer, perhaps none at all? You will find them in prisons, in psychiatric hospitals, in divorce courts, in therapists' offices, in video stores picking out their movies for the evening. Of course, lack of human touch is not the only things such people are missing from their lives. But you may be certain that it is a very common element among them.

How desperate would you get if you had not eaten for five days? Or if you had not slept for three days? If you had not had water for two days? If you did not have enough stuff to keep you warm?

Human touch is a need, not a luxury.

Look at the kind of play kids get involved with at school. Most of it involves touching in some way. Kid get into fights--would the fights have not been necessary (might not even have been thought of) if each of the fighters had enough human touch to satisfy their needs?

There is a kind of physical therapy called Healing Touch. The therapist does not technically touch the patient. But the two come close enough to each other that the patient can feel the heat radiating from the skin of the therapist.

The patient feels better. The patient's "touch bank" gets filled. With that need satisfied, the patient's immune and other self-correcting body systems begin to function properly again.

Can we touch ourselves (such as by hugging ourselves) to achieve the same goals? I believe that when we do this, we satisfy maybe one-tenth of our need. What we should be taking from the habit of doing this is that we desperately need the touch of others.

Think of the social animals you know--bees, ants, horses, dogs, etc. Every one, without exception, not only needs the touch of others, but seeks it out. Sometimes, if necessary, they even force themselves on others just to get that touch need satisfied.

Oh, did I just say "force themselves on others?" Isn't that what rapists and those who physically abuse others do? You don't suppose...

Well, if you don't suppose, then you should.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems' is available now for order from book stores and online book sellers. See for details.

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