Learning Observational Subtleties

People need touches to thrive psychologically.

In cultures where infant affection is low, levels of violence are high.

Twelve times a day the average American woman touches someone.

For the average man, it's eight touches.

Despite the fact that people like to touch and to be touched, most people are touch illiterates.

They think that touching is permissible only in matters of sex and fighting.

T he more you touch people in a proper way, the more they touch you back.

Proper touching can be learned.

The vocabulary of touching is transmitted through handshakes, pats, hugs, caresses, rubs, pinches, squeezes, kisses, strokes and brushes.

The meanings can reflect simple greetings, affection, fear, sexual desire, etc.

Studies have revealed that recipients of even momentary touches in acceptable situations experience positive feelings about themselves and the individuals touching them, but many times they didn't even recall being touched.

Sometimes touching is used as a form of manipulation.

A young man encounters a young woman who appears to like him, and she reflects this in a touching manner while conversing with him.

The toucher has learned that this momentary contact produces good feelings in the recipient, and she plays it for all it is worth.

The fond feelings that the young man begins to exhibit are not returned, and confusion results.

Understanding how touching affects you is better than misinterpreting it.

Through touch, the powerful life energy of a strong, loving person will 'naturally' flow into the field of a weak, low energy person (see the “life energy” measuring device in the back pages of this book ).

When you touch someone with the intention to benefit them, you often evoke similar, positive emotions in them, and a therapeutic effect can result.

Dr. Delores Krieger, a professor of nursing at New York University made some breakthroughs with the technique of “laying-on-of-hands,” later known as therapeutic touch.

Because there is an exchange of energy through the power of touch, her research showed that patients in hospitals recovered faster when they were touched in a caring way by friends, relatives or nurse attendants.

The healing energy exchanged was improved by a more positive attitude of the givers (see “Exercise -- Increase Your Energy, Increase Your Health”).

Patients were also healed faster when they expressed an abundance of self-love and self-appreciation.

One experiment where parents were instructed to massage their newborn babies for 15 minutes every day with slow, pressured stroking resulted after 3 months in babies that were less irritable and with a more even temperament than a group of babies that did not have the daily massage.

A calmer disposition in a baby also brings about automatic self-management in regulating stress hormones of the brain.

Often there is an aversion to any touching contact between people because of the concern about maintaining a certain image to onlookers.

This phobic behavior should be examined and understood.

To learn a better touch vocabulary with people, observe what kind of touches make you feel good and which don't make you feel good.

Learn the taboos - don't touch acquaintances or strangers unexpectedly; don't touch friends if interrupting an important activity; don't move or nudge someone aside abruptly; and don't aggressively grab a friend without warning.

As an exercise during the following week, each day make some sort of physical contact with people as you talk with them.

Use hand shakes, hugs and simple touching contact without discriminating on the basis of sex.

Embrace or kiss friends and relatives to say hello and good-bye.

Become consciously aware of and use the same kind of gentleness whether you hug men or women.

To further accustom yourself with tactile contact, go to a masseur or a masseuse.

Exchange massages with friends.

Because massage increases the fluid flow in the blood and lymphatic systems, massage shouldn't be used on people with phlebitis, thrombosis, high fevers, infectious diseases, some types of cancers, areas of hemorrhage or heavy tissue damage, and fractures and sprains less than 24 hours old.

As a variation to massage, lightly stroke a friend's back and body for 15 minutes and then have them reciprocate.

The next opportunity you have for sexual intimacy, choose instead to touch, stroke, hug, bathe and mutually massage each other.

The more you understand the language of tactile contact, the more you begin to understand yourself and others.