A simple touch could be enough to calm your past trauma, experts claim – Christian Abbott
A new experiment has shown how touch can relieve feelings of stress by altering brain function, says Dr. Miriam Stoppard
(Image: Getty Images/Science Photo Library RF)
Years ago, while writing about the power of touch, I came across research that blew me away. The first was an experiment with baby chimpanzees, who would rather cling to an artificial, soft, cuddly mother chimpanzee (because it feels like they’re being touched) than eat. Touch was more important than food.
The second experiment showed that someone who even touched him briefly was more honest when asked if he would take coins from a phone booth.
And in a new experiment, scientists at Nottingham Trent University have shown how touch reduces feelings of stress by altering brain activity.
They used a psychological therapy called Havening Touch, which involves nurturing touch to help people recover from traumatic events.
Participants who had had a moderately distressing thought or event at least one month prior to the study participated in online psychological testing and a face-to-face therapeutic session.
It’s an interesting approach.
Led by an experienced Havening therapist, a session begins with the participant reflecting on their distressing event or memory. Next, they perform about four cycles of activity, such as: For example, naming animals with certain letters, singing a nursery rhyme, thinking about photos of happy pictures, and imagining watching a tennis match.
The practitioner touches the participant either on the face, upper arms and shoulders or palms with a gentle stroking motion during the activities.
Before, after and during the session, participants reported their mood and did a brain scan, and mood improved.
Additionally, those who did a follow-up psychometric test two weeks later said they felt mentally better. Self-reported stress was lower during the session with Havening Touch than during a session without. This showed up in the brain scans as increases in beta brainwaves and decreases in gamma activity.
This reflects changes in a brain network known as the limbic system. It processes emotions and supports the theory that having touch helps relieve a sense of fear or threat.
dr Alexander Sumich, Associate Professor of Psychology at Nottingham Trent University, says: “Hormones and brain chemicals such as oxytocin and dopamine are released by our bodies when social contact is desired, such as when we are socializing. B. a hug, released and are crucial to our mental and mental health physical well-being, support our immune system.
“Oxytocin also helps an area of the limbic system called the amygdala to adaptively determine whether or not we should be afraid of something.
“We see that the inclusion of Havening Touch accelerates the reduction in suffering, even in a single session.”
We have given up contacting Covid – I hope we start again.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/simple-touch-could-enough-calm-26913202 A simple touch could be enough to calm your past trauma, experts claim - Christian Abbott