Not long ago at a wedding I attended, the rabbi offered the bride and groom a piece of very doable advice: The key to a long and happy union, he said, is to touch each other every single day. The touching can be as simple as a hug hello, he explained, or a gentle rub on the back. But to stay connected romantically and emotionally, a couple needs to stay connected physically—by literally connecting.

While the rabbi’s handsy advice made intuitive sense, I was curious: Was there any science to back it up?

The burgeoning field of touch research suggests the answer is an emphatic yes. Not only can affectionate touch promote feelings of bonding and attachment in couples, according to multiple studies, but in long-term relationships, it can also contribute to overall physical health and well-being.

“When touch is wanted, it basically communicates, ‘I’m on your side,’” David J. Linden, a professor of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the author of the 2015 book Touch: The Science of Hand, Heart, and Mind, tells Health. Whether you’re touching or being touched, he says, “it’s pretty good for what ails you.”

And yet, while it’s common for couples to be very physical at the beginning of a relationship—to not be able to keep their hands off each other—over time, we often get distracted by the demands of work and home and just, well, forget to touch our partners. By being more mindful about how and when we touch our significant others, say experts, we can give our relationships a quick and easy boost. Here why.

Touching fuels your bond

If you want to feel emotionally close to your partner, look for opportunities to be physically close to him or her—so close that you can easily make contact. “What I say to people is stay in touch,” Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist and senior research fellow at the Kinsey Institute, tells Health. “We are just built to touch—the brain is built to do this.”

The science works like this: When we’re touched by a romantic partner, we experience a surge in the hormone oxytocin, often called the “love hormone,” in the brain, which helps to sustain feelings of deep attachment. Walk arm in arm, hold hands, put your foot gently on top of the other person’s under the table, or learn to sleep in the other …read more

Source:: Time – Health


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