Hugs Not Drugs? New Research Reveals The Healing Power Of Touch.

23 Feb

“We may go to the moon, but that’s not very far. The greatest distance we have to cover still lies within us.” – Charles de Gaulle

Maybe the popular rock n’ roll band U2 had it right back in 1991, in their hit song Mysterious Ways with the lyric, “To touch is to heal.” 

However, they weren’t the first to make the claim. The healing power of touch has been written about since close to the dawn of civilization. To many, there was no scientific evidence to back it up and so it had no place in the healing arts.

Here’s an interesting example that shows one BIG flaw with that kind of thinking…

Let’s say you have a bucket filled to the top with water.  What happens if you stick your fist in the bucket?

The water in the bucket will overflow, right?

This is because your fist displaces water in the bucket, causing the water level to rise (and ultimately spill over the top).

If the bucket was not already full, then the water would rise in proportion to the volume of the fist and the change could easily be measured.

Now, think about this…

What happens when you put your fist in the ocean? Your fist displaces the exact same amount of water it did in the bucket.  

But wait, did the ocean rise?  

The answer: Yes.  The water level in the ocean rose.  It rose in such a small amount that we do not have measuring devices sensitive enough to measure it.  So, even though we cannot readily measure and prove it rose, we know it happened.

Hmmm.  Very interesting.

The truth of the matter is: There are many things that happen that we simply cannot measure.  

That’s one of the reasons science is so fascinating.  New ways of measuring and testing are constantly developed to uncover the many mysteries of the universe.

Just because science has not yet “proven” something does not mean it is not true or does not exist.  One great example of this is the probable discovery of what is being called, “the God particle.”

According to ABC News

After decades of careful experiment, physicists say they have found the ‘strongest indication to date’ to prove the existence of the  HYPERLINK “http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/apnewsbreak-verge-particle-discovery-16693242” \l “.T_G9MVLNmU4” Higgs boson — a subatomic particle so important to the understanding of space, time and matter that the physicist Leon Lederman nicknamed it ‘ HYPERLINK “http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/higgs-boson-rumors-fly-god-particle-announcement-cern/story?id=15124806” the God particle.’

The announcement today, based on experiments at the Department of Energy’s Fermilab near Chicago and other institutions, is not the final word, but it’s very close. And it comes just before a major meeting this week in Australia, where more findings will be announced from the giant underground particle accelerator at CERN, the great physics lab in the Alps on the French-Swiss border.

“This is one of the cornerstones of how we understand the universe,” said Rob Roser, a Fermilab physicist, “and if it’s not there, we have to go back and check our assumptions about how the universe exists.”

Until very recently, researchers did not have the technology to discover this particle.  So, did it not exist before 2012? 

  What about the healing power of touch?  An article published in Scientific American (July 11, 2011) reads, A team led by Professor Ron Frostig of the University of California, Irvine, induced strokes in rats by blocking an artery to the brain. The researchers then stimulated their whiskers, intending to measure the rats’ brain activity to learn how the stroke damage affected sensory functions. Instead they found that if they vibrated a single whisker within two hours of the stroke, neurons that ordinarily would have died continued to function normally, and the rats ended up with no paralysis or sensory deficits. The exact mechanism of the protective effect is not clear, but it seems to involve a rerouting of blood through undamaged veins in the brain.”

The article later revealed that the pattern of tickling the rats’ whiskers did not matter, but more tickling helped. 

Here’s what WebMd says about “Touch Therapy”:“Emerging research suggests that touch therapy works: In one landmark study, 16 happily married women were subjected to the threat of a mild electric shock; touching their husbands’ hands brought immediate relief from the resulting anxiety. Even a stranger’s touch was somewhat calming. “We know that anxiety decreases immune function and makes you get sick more often,” says study author Jim Coan, Ph.D., a Neuroscientist at the University of Virginia. “If touch can help you be less anxious, you’re more likely to stay well.”

Here’s one more just for good measure…  Science Daily reported on June 26, 2012, “A new study by the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center shows that patients reported significant improvement in side effects of cancer treatment following just one Jin Shin Jyutsu session. Jin Shin Jyutsu is an ancient form of touch therapy similar to acupuncture in philosophy.”

Of course, every article or study ends with “more research needs to be done.”  That’s a good thing.  The more proof, the better.

However, absence of proof is not the proof of absence.  Chiropractors (and others in the medical and healing arts) have known for a long time there is something wonderful about touch.  Patients get better, with or without scientific studies published in peer review journals.

Thankfully, now science is shedding light on what Chiropractors have known for over 100 years.  There is no doubt more research will open more healing doors and help more people stay healthy and pain free.

 

 

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