British scientists have established that touching has two factors. The first one is called a “quick touch” and it is a response of the nervous system to external signals, for example, if the hand touches something hot. The second, a “slow touch”, is much more complicated. The researchers have only recently discovered this. It turned out that a slow touch is associated with a group of nerves called c-tactile afferents. They are responsible for the emotional meaning of touching.
This group of afferents is viewed by scientists as a signal of pleasant aspects of social tactile interactions. Thus, with a hug or gentle touch, a group of nerves sends a signal to the brain that triggers a cascade of neurochemical pulses. This includes oxytocin production, which slows the heart rate and reduces stress and anxiety.
Relaxation and tranquility given by embracement improve health overall, including the following:
- sleep improves;
- stress resistance increases;
- immunity improves.
Lack of social interaction and loneliness can lead to premature death, scientists assure. Therefore, embracement can become not only a way to show love and care for your loved ones, including your pet, but also an opportunity to make your life longer and happier.