The Surprising Health and Beauty Benefits of the Human Touch

From boosting confidence and maintaining wellbeing to enhancing skin health, the power of physical contact can work wonders, as beauty editor Lisa Oxenham reveals

Take time to reconnect with yourself  

Amid the whirlwind of modern life, reconnecting with ourselves is becoming increasingly essential. A constant barrage of information often leads to overstimulation, clouding our emotions and feelings. Our prevailing "hustle culture" promotes ceaseless productivity, frequently pushing us towards emotional depletion and burnout. 

This, when combined with the whirring of an online life and curated social media, leaves many of us mentally up against digital facades, amplifying feelings of inadequacy. 

Simultaneously, as we drift further from nature, we lose touch with the ancestral rhythms and communal bonds as a result of human connection that are essential to our wellbeing. 

To counter these multifaceted challenges, a conscious inner journey is crucial. Engaging in introspective practices like meditation and journaling fosters heightened self-awareness and a connection to core self, helping us to unearth and reconnect with our deep-seated values, passions, and emotions. 

Recognise the importance of physical contact 

You are happy being single, have a busy job and a thriving social life, but there is something missing - you crave physical touch. ‘Touch hunger’, or ‘skin hunger’ as it is also known, arises when we are deprived of physical contact. It isn’t a sexual need, but a sense we crave from the day we are born.

Meaningful contact produces hormones in the brain such as serotonin, dopamine and the bonding hormone oxytocin to help foster positive emotions. As well as making us feel good, human touch can slow down heart rate, reduce blood pressure and boost the immune system. This makes it just as important to our well-being as a nutritious diet and exercise. 

Not everyone is able to be in an intimate, physical relationship, but it’s important to know that we all have the need. If you don’t have a romantic partner who can give you that connection, how about close contact with a friend or a family member? Even a friendly touch on the arm can be very soothing for somebody who is feeling upset or alone. 

Be sure to reach out a hand 

Holding hands enhances awareness, symbolises a profound bond, and stimulates oxytocin release, a neurotransmitter promoting trust and compassion while reducing anxiety. This neurotransmitter is responsible for increasing feelings of trust, generosity and compassion, while decreasing feelings of fear and anxiety. Our hands, rich in nerve endings, relay sensory information. Interlocked fingers activate pressure receptors, initiating vagal activity that calms us post-stress. As a society, we are starved of non-sexual touch, so try and be mindful of reaching out a hand to the people around you a little more often. 

Stay in touch with others

Studies indicate that prolonged social isolation is as detrimental to health as smoking 15 cigarettes daily. Scientists now understand its severe physical implications. Loneliness can foster depression and anxiety, which may manifest on the skin due to stress responses. Such stress induces inflammation, resulting in skin issues like dryness, breakouts, premature ageing, and dullness. Touch alleviates the nervous system and reduces stress hormones, promoting better nutrient and oxygen

circulation for radiant skin. Combat stress and release pent-up emotional tension in muscles through massage. Consistent facial massages with quality oils can significantly enhance skin appearance. For the best results, massage daily with a luxurious face oil - my favourite is Almora Botanica’s Restorative Night Face Oil

Self-soothe and hug it out

"Cuddle Therapy," already popular in the US, is gaining momentum in the UK. It represents the deepest, most innate form of human solace, and a heartfelt embrace can counteract the impacts of loneliness. Alternatively, consider a cocooning massage. It's high time we recognised the power of platonic, nurturing touch in boosting well-being, self-assurance, and empathy. 

Self calm 

Even face yoga or self-massage helps lower stress by releasing oxytocin, potentially meeting some of our needs for self-touch. Daily, we subconsciously reconnect with ourselves through soothing gestures like twirling our hair, massaging our neck, or fidgeting with our fingers. Oils offer the ideal consistency for massaging areas like the arms, neck, and face. Almora Botanica Radiance Day Face Oil and the massaging mushroom tools work wonders. 

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