Hot Topics     Home and Family     Healthy Kids     Teen Health     Health Guide    

The power of good touch



Science proves touch beyond infancy very beneficial

Science proves touch beyond infancy very beneficial


When our son was an infant, we traveled with him a lot. His mom nursed him, and I often carried him in sling or a Baby Bjorn. Every now and then, especially in the south, someone – a server, a cashier – would feel compelled to say, “You’re holding that baby too much. You’re gonna spoil him! You shouldn’t hold him all the time. It’s not good.” They were always at least middle aged, more often elderly. We made a joke out of it. And needless to say, we didn’t alter our behavior at all.

Science has proven us right to laugh at this ridiculously bad advice from another era. In Moms.com, Samira Khan cites multiple studies that show the wisdom of what many indigenous cultures have known for millennia: holding an infant, hugging a child, being physically present, are all beneficial not only for emotional health, but for actual physical health.

READ MORE: How to raise emotionally intelligent kids to conquer stress

As Khan puts it: “Medical science has also proven that physical touch has a direct effect on the human body and mind, because the positive, or ‘good touch,’ triggers the release of the hormone oxytocin, which creates feelings of emotional attachment and strong bonding between parent and child.”

Even as children grow, enter middle school, and seem to be even more independent and less needy, Khan maintains you “always greet him with a hug and gentle kiss, and when your child is worried or upset, listen to him while patting his back or holding the child tight, giving the feel that you are always there for him.”

Ironically, in tween years and high school, when children typically often assert even more adult-like control, is the age when they need your emotional and moral support as much as when they were infants. Khan says, “Being physically close to them is one of the key elements that contribute to their strong emotional development. In fact, the "good touch” at this age will positively affect your child’s behavioral patterns.

According to Khan’s article, adults who experienced positive physical touch and strong emotional bonding in childhood score better on “emotional intelligence” charts. They are more empathetic, resilient, and, in a word, happier.



Other articles by HVP News Reporters


  • 5 tips to help you land a new job

    A solid interview can help you close the deal

    With so many job openings these days, you may think you’ll have an easy time sliding into a new role. Not so fast. Because of the huge number of options available and plenty of workers contemplating changes, you’re likely to encounter some competition to land the job you want. read more »
  • Healthy habits for your home

    5 tips to help you out

    If you’re like most Americans, health is an important aspect of your resolutions when each new year rolls around. While factors like diet and exercise are keys to healthy living, so are the ways you care for your home and belongings. read more »
  • 5 heart health tips for the holidays

    Keep your family safe during this festive season

    Food, drinks, gifts and time with family make the holidays a merry occasion for people across the country. However, all that celebrating can sometimes become a distraction from maintaining heart health. read more »
  • 10 health resolutions doctors encourage you to make today

    These actions you can take are some of the most important

    The New Year represents a fresh start and is the perfect time to invest in your health. However, you may be unsure what resolutions will have the biggest impact. Doctors say that the easy, tangible actions you take are some of the most important. read more »
  • 4 reasons to consider adopting a pet

    Pets can be a key source of comfort and joy

    More than 23 million American households added a four-legged family member over the last three years, according to data from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Through these trying times, pets have been a key source of comfort and joy – even improving pet parents’ overall wellbeing. read more »
  • Make a difference for children globally this holiday season

    Your gift can make a real impact for a child

    The most meaningful gifts are rarely the ones that can be wrapped and found under a tree. This holiday season, gifts can go beyond just thoughtful presents for family, friends and loved ones and can make real impact for children globally. read more »
  • Must-have tools for entertaining with ease this holiday season

    Having the right tools will set you up for success

    ‘Tis the season for gatherings galore. Whether you’re an all-star entertainer or a first-time host, having the right tools will set you up for success—meaning you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time with loved ones. read more »
  • 5 tips to ace college entry exams

    Prepping for ACT and SAT exams is crucial

    Because most colleges and universities require applicants to submit ACT or SAT results as part of admissions consideration, prepping for the test itself can be a critical component of that process. read more »
  • Fun ways to foster a love of music at an early age

    4 great ways to get your kids interested

    It’s never too early to encourage children to love to make and appreciate music. read more »
  • Festive recipes for hosting an inclusive holiday gathering

    2 delicious recipes for you to try

    Memories made and recipes shared are the trademarks of a successful holiday gathering, and this year, you can host your way to a practically perfect party with delicious dishes that resonate with the flavors of the season. read more »