GP, Author and TV presenter, Dr Rangan Chatterjee talks about the importance of human touch in his latest Feel Better, Live More podcast.
Rangan speaks to leading researcher, Professor Francis McGlone, who explains why touch is essential to the healthy brain development of humans and other mammals, and what the consequences are when we don’t receive it.
Francis says that there are now fewer opportunities for children to experience social touch and physical play than there were 30 to 50 years ago. There is less physical activity and more desk-based IT work, where children often spend more time on a smart phone or tablet than interacting with each other. He believes that children who lack social touch could become less resilient in the future.
He also says that nurturing touch in early years from the mother or caregiver is crucial for brain development and a lack of touch can lead to social exclusion. Research has shown that ‘rats whose mothers lick them regularly as they grow up are better able to cope with stress than those whose mothers don’t lick them at all’. The rats who weren’t licked became hypersensitive to stress and anxiety.
Listen to the podcast here
Read an interview with Dr Chatterjee in the Winter 2018 issue of International Therapist