Through loving touches, you literally and figuratively feel better about yourself.
Just as you feel hungry and thirsty, you can also lack skin contact. There is a word for this feeling: skin hunger. And there is so much to tell on this subject that you could easily fill out a book on it, as Bruno Müller-Orlinghausen and Gabriel Mariel Kipges have demonstrated.
The authors specialize in body-based therapy and massage techniques, so the book is very interesting if you’re interested in learning more about it, but I immediately became immersed in the general chapters on skin and the sense of touch – and why it is such a special feeling.
What makes your sense of touch unique, for example, is that your skin communicates in two ways: Through your skin comes information about the outside world (whether it’s hot or cold, how things feel), but your skin also expresses what’s going on inside of you. Think of the goosebumps when you’re affected, the blushing when you feel shy, and the goosebumps from a scary story.
Another in the “Yes, now that you mention it!” category: You can’t turn off your sense of touch. This isn’t a problem for the other senses: with a blindfold over your eyes that you can’t see anything, earplugs blocking out sounds, with a pin on your nose you can’t smell anything, and if you keep your mouth shut you won’t have to taste anything. This is not the case with the sense of touch. Your skin is always “on”.
Touch is really a necessity of life. It is no coincidence that premature babies are laid on bare skin. Loving touches heal. And this applies not only to therapeutic massage, but also to everyday touches. It’s a good idea to have something you touch regularly, like a smooth stone in your jacket pocket (your phone often has the same effect).
However, the skin often gets little attention. When you’re on keyboards all day, your sense of touch doesn’t have much to do with it. In the digital world, you don’t touch each other, and if you’re not in a relationship, you don’t get as many hugs either — loving skin-touching matters, Dorien wrote about this in this article. So: Pay attention to your skin. And not for how your skin looks, but on your skin as a feel. Pamper your skin with precise stimuli!
3 x Caring for your skin
1. Everyday Touches
“Every day we can fill out an entire notebook with what we touched that day.” Notice how often you touch yourself. Often without realizing it: push your hair back, wipe your nose, cross your arms, rub a crust or rub your hands warm. Most people also have things to do when they’re nervous, shy, or focused – fiddling with your hair, touching your nose, scratching your head. What are your usual movements?
2. Surprise your skin
Take a foot bath in warm, sweet-scented water. Walking barefoot in the park when it rains. Tickle yourself with a feather. The kitchen is a mecca for your sense of touch: move a pan of dry rice with your fingers or knead the dough. Notice the surfaces of things around you: how the tree feels, the soil, the ice.
3. Hugs and hugs
The most the best. Cuddle your children and loved ones (even) often, and sit close to each other on the couch. Carefully raise your dog, cat or rabbit, or take your child to the petting zoo for babysitting. If you are going through a tough time, treat yourself to a massage. Some companies have a chair massager now and then – always do it!
“Today we touch our smartphone more than our partner,” wrote Muller-Orlinghausen and Marielle Kipges. They cite research showing that lack of communication in modern society makes us sick.
They have a point: we live in a world where it’s all about the main thing: to see, We quickly go through the appearance. But that’s the beauty of this book: you start to focus less on how things look and more on how you feel. You can choose an extra soft jacket, for example, or a phone case that opens and closes nicely. Ribbed shell, dryer fluff, smooth stone in your jacket pocket your fingers can play with.
A world full of small treats, literally at your fingertips.
Want to read more about skin hunger?
Suffering from skin hunger? This is how you fill your imperfection.