The Healing Power of Touch

Just three insignificant letters form in the mind and reverberate off the vocal chords to ask a painful question: Why? This question is not asked in our moments of joy and happiness; it is in the seconds of sorrow that seem to last for eternity that we ask: Why?

Due to the nature of my work, I am often present when someone is overcome by the power of some gut wrenching and heart rending tragedy or trial. While a person is languishing in the fog of grief, he may turn a deaf ear to the cold language of theology, and at the same time listen for the warm sound of the first language he learned—the language of touch.

In Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life, Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California, referred to touch as “our richest means of emotional expression” throughout life.

Research conducted by The University of Wisconsin and published in the National Academy of Sciences, found a link between children who had been deprived of close physical contact and lower levels of social-bonding hormones. The research seemed to indicate that the first language of touch or infant cuddling is vital to a child’s emotional well-being.

Evidence suggests that a warm touch can trigger the release of oxytocin. This hormone does a couple of things: It helps to create a sensation of trust, and it also helps to reduce the levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Does this mean there is a biological benefit to burden-bearing words of Jesus in Matthew 11? Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light

The next time you or a friend get punched in the gut with the combined power of three little insignificant letters, W-H-Y, remember there is some spiritual as well as biological benefit to embracing this principle of Scripture: Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ . . . as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith (Galatians 6).

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