Have you heard the term “Touch Starvation”?
Last week I learned my new neighbor had lost his beloved cat after 17
years. His name was Elvis and, as my neighbor was telling me about it, I
could sense his deep sense of loss. My neighbor is single, lives alone and
was always welcomed by his beloved Elvis, the pitter patter of his little feet
greeting him when he came home and providing comfort as only a pet can
with pure unconditional love. Elvis was his lifeline to “touch”.
Today I want to talk to you about unconditional love and our need as
humans to have touch or social contact in our life. There is a term called
“touch starvation”. Many of us have experienced this because of “social
distancing” during the Covid-19 Pandemic. But this has been experienced
by those in hospitals, care facilities and orphanages too. There are many
reasons for us to experience love, touch or social contact and what
happens when we are deprived of it? I will attempt to cover a few of them.
Why is touch so important? We bond through touch with co-workers,
loved ones and friends. It is how humans interact. Because ‘skin’ is the
largest organ in the human body we are able to receive and sends signals
to our brain with touch. A hug can release the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin
is the feel good hormone and helps to lower fear and anxiety. When babies
are born Mother’s typically hold and comfort their babies. What we’ve
learned now is that this interaction is just the beginning to our well being
as humans. Touch helps to regulate sleep and digestion and boost our
Lack of touch can create stress, anxiety and depression. Cortisol is a
hormone that is released as a result of stress. This can affect blood
pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and our breath. As our breath
becomes shallow our immune and digestive systems are affected too. Our
quality of sleep is disrupted and we become at higher risk of infections
and other more serious long term medical conditions.
These are some of the things we have been seeing with friends,
acquaintances and family in a more dramatic way since the pandemic
started. But there are ways to counteract these affects and one of them is
to interact with our pets or animals at sanctuaries or rescue facilities. Small
or large our animal companions can make a difference in our life. The act
of caring for another living being can take us out of the funk we may be in
and allow us to be of service to them. In reality they are in service to us.
Depending on the pet they may greet you at the door with kisses, and
love. They are so excited to see us in the morning and when we return
home. It has been shown that when we pet a dog or cat they can help us
reduce our blood pressure, calm us down and take our minds off anything
that may be creating pressure. Playing with your pet can help you relax by
releasing oxytocin, that feel good hormone in our brain.
Large or small interaction in general with animals can take us away from
our worries and reduce stress. Whether we are volunteering at a sanctuary,
a rescue facility or interacting with our own pets, touch in this way is an
act of being of service and to show grace and gratitude to other living
I read recently that a cat’s mission in life is to remove the negative energy
accumulated in our body. When we sleep they absorb energy that
accumulates in us. They protect us as we sleep. If they feel they are
needed by us they will sleep with us, if we are fine then they won’t sleep
with us. It has been scientifically shown that the purring sound or vibration
emanating from a cat can actually knit bones and heal bodies. Cats may
have a different way of showing love but don’t doubt that the love they
share is true.
I have had the honor of sharing my life with my dog Inochi, who just
turned 7 years old this year. He has been a loving companion for me.
He has been with me through thick and
thin and gives me opportunities everyday to go outside and get exercise
for both of us. He helps me stay active because we walk daily. And then,
because it wasn’t enough love for me, during the pandemic and the long
lonely days, I had to have a cat to join us. But wait, not just one! Being
new to cat guardianship I realized it is best to have two so that they can
interact. Nigel and Sasha are now part of the crew. Three furry friends who
give me deep love and affection every single day. And somedays it’s quite
a circus but they make me laugh and give me comfort. I am honored to
have them in my life to help me through.
If you are experiencing “touch starvation” a wonderful way to bring it back
into your life is with a furry friend, large or small. I highly recommend it.
What are you doing to enrich your life to prevent “touch starvation”?
Author: Debbie Del Rio https://bestamericanpsychics.com/listing/debbie-del-rio/