Touch – 5 Things You’ll Be Happy To Know


Touch, of all our senses is the most difficult to fathom doing without.  We have hundreds of nerve endings in every square inch of our skin.  Our body functions like an antenna, receiving a constant stream of information ranging from the firmness of the chair we’re sitting on to the heat of the sun though the window.

Touch is the first sense we develop in utero, and it is crucial to survival.  Babies can die from lack of it, and as adults, touch helps to protect us from harm.  Some nerves are specialized to feel texture and pressure, others to detect temperature or register pain.  Nerves Touch - 5 Things You'll Be Happy To Knowknow as proprioceptors sense the position of our body parts in space while enabling us to cross our arms with ease, or lean out a window without falling.  But touch influences us more subtly as well.  A recent study from Yale University found that people seated on soft chairs during mock negotiations with car dealers were more likely to make an offer several hundred dollars greater than people who were seated on hard chairs.  This sign shows us how the brain interprets comfort (the physical sensation) as evidence of broader well-being.


Touch – 5 Things You’ll Be Happy To Know


  1. The skin is your body’s largest organ and contains more than 4 million sensory receptors.
  2. Among the body’s most sensitive areas are the lips, the back of the neck, the fingertips, and the soles of the feet.  The least sensitive is the middle of your back.
  3. Being touched can reduce stress, by lowering levels of hormones like cortisol.
  4. Pain is the body’s warning system, and it’s thorough:  People have more receptors for pain than for any other sensation.
  5. Thermoreceptors perceive sensations related to temperature.  But they stop being stimulated when the surface of the skin drops below 41 degrees (which is why your skin starts to feel numb in icy temperatures) or rises above 113 degrees (at which point pain receptors take over to avoid burns).


Tell us what you thought about our latest feature on Touch in the comments below.  Look for our next exurb which will be on Smell.


Lynne is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and Therapeutic Massage and Ethics Educator with extensive study in preventative nutrition and physiology. For over 35 years, Lynne has helped thousands of people through consulting, seminars and writing.

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