Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The much anticipated rant...Hugs and the Power of Touch

Here we go… my much anticipated rant.

Hugs and the Power of Touch

I have encountered some of what I consider the best huggers in NJ. Although I am still friends with most of them, I don’t get hugged all that often. I miss hugging. I have a handful of friends, new and old, that do not hug. This is quite disheartening.
Last week, I saw a very dear friend. She gave me a hug, and didn’t let go. In the past we saw each other every day; recently I am lucky if I see her monthly. She is the best hugger… I miss that. My ex’s kids were very affectionate kids. To this day, when I see them, they always give me long emotion filled hugs.

There is great power in touch. It conveys a number of emotions; for example, touch can convey anger, fear, happiness, sadness, disgust, love, gratitude or sympathy. Touch is very important for the premature baby lying in the incubator. A mother’s touch comforts and can even increase the babies’ weight. Hugs are important to adults also. When we feel hurt, embarrassed or depressed a hug can do a lot of good for a person’s self worth. A simple touch can convey love, tenderness, friendship, caring, sympathy and support.


I think the world would be a better place if we touched more. However, I am not suggesting that you hug a stranger. During Catholic Mass you share the sign of peace with your neighbors; however, at a Lutheran service you take 10 minutes to walk around and shake everyone’s hands. I am sure that 3 second contact is the only skin to skin contact that most of the elderly parishioners have for that week. I am also confident that moment in time makes a persons day. It is the simple things in life, which we take for granted; that simplistic gesture also make a gloomy day-sunny.

An infant needs to be touched. The child needs the affection to grow physically and emotionally; then as we grow into toddlers we struggle to be independent. We push away from our parents when we are being held. That autonomy grows as we become adolescents, and young adults. It is no longer cool to get a hug from your parents. It is awkward to be touched by a family member. The way our parents have raised us has a large bearing on whether we are affectionate adults. I was not born into a touchy family. We have love for each other but we do not show it. We are however expected to give a hug and kiss goodbye.


I guess I would just suggest that we be mindful of the affect our touch has on another person. A hug or a gentle touch can make someone’s day. It is a simple gesture that can mean so much. I am going to leave you with the words of Leo F. Buscaglia:
Too often we underestimate the power of touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, and honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

See these links:

Five-Second Touch Can Convey Specific Emotion, Study Finds
Premature babies and touch
Define: Osculate


  1. I agree. I'm a hugger & I think people should hug more . . .

  2. You are so right - hugs are absolutely therapeutic! I needed hugs before my surgery and am now a hugging demon whenever I see somebody who has just be diagnosed, or is waiting for their operation or just had an operation.