Express News Service
HYDERABAD: “The human touch is that little snippet of physical affection that brings a bit of comfort, support, and kindness. It doesn’t take much from the one who gives it, but can make a huge difference in the one who receives it,” writes Mya Robarts in the novel ‘The V Girl: A Coming Of Age Story’.
The ongoing pandemic has proved how much touch-deprived the people in the world are, which, much aptly, has been given the term ‘skin hunger’ by psychologists.
Also known as touch-deprivation, the condition can trigger additional stress in the body. The really long absence of skin-to-skin touch can give rise to Cortisol, the primary stress hormone which can lead to high levels of anxiety, depressions and other mental health issues.
The ‘touch deprivation’ has added bleakness to the personal and professional choices of many as social distancing doesn’t allow people to hug, shake hands or sit close. Says, 24-year-old masseuse, Sharifa Bano of Zahara Nagar employed with Urban Clap,
“The lockdown and the un-lockdown phases have almost ruined our profession. Very few women have booked for the services. A few days before the New Year, a young girl booked for a session. As a safety measure, I had to wear gloves, but this is not how one messages the human skin. This puts an embargo on the nerve endings to release stress and one won’t get the benefit.”
Dr Abraham Verghese the professor of medicine at Stanford University calls human touch as the most important medicine. The skin is the largest organ in the body which with a friendly and positive touch releases Oxytocin hormone, also called the love hormone.
It is known to make one feel good and comforted thus reducing the levels of stress.
“This releases the anxiety levels in many especially those who feel lonely. This pandemic has pushed people to stay away from their friends and dear ones. With no direct skin touch, it’s likely that people, who are already depressed feel more anxiety,” says Brijesh, a clinical psychologist.
The same has been felt and reported across the globe showing how important touch is for the social-sensitive human being. That’s how during the lockdown and even in the post lockdown period the sale of pets went up. But there are people who don’t find it comfortable to hug an animal.
To this Brijesh adds, “While there’s no replacement for human touch, hugging a soft blanket or furry toys also gives a feeling of being hugged and touched.”