By Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.”
Physical touch, as many a physician will tell you, is known to improve the function of your immune system. One study on women found the receiving hugs from their partners led to lower heart rates and blood pressure.
A headline read: “CORONAVIRUS IS ACCELERATING A CULTURE OF NO TOUCHING.”
During the Coronavirus, people started avoiding hand shakes. The British queen was seen wearing gloves as a precaution not to contact the virus. She and Prince Charles did test positive for the virus.
I’ve always felt that a friend is someone who reaches for your hand, but TOUCHES YOUR HEART.
In the 1940s, newborn infants were separated into two groups. One group was placed in a sterile facility and was provided with food, and was bathed and changed as necessary, but WASN’T given any more physical touch than absolutely necessary. There was no communication with the children unless necessary. After four months, nearly half of the infants in the sterile environment had died and the experiment was stopped. The experiment proved that without touch children can die from lack of affection.
A second group of babies in the experiment had all their basic needs met and were given affection, and as a result, no babies died in that group.
The first months and years of life have long been regarded as crucial to later development. In 2005, Scientific American reported that babies raised in Romanian and Russian orphanages who were deprived of the kind of caregiving typical for our species, became functionally incapable of forming healthy relationships and had difficulties developing friendships. Research shows that children adopted from such institutions who have spent as many as three years in their new homes, still suffer from depressed levels of harmones that have been linked to bonding, caring, communicating and stress regulation.
Dr. Leo Buscaglia (AKA “Dr. Hug”) passed away in 1998. He wrote 15 books, five of which were once on the New York Times best-seller list. AT THE SAME TIME. He was shown on public TV during fund-raising weeks in the 1980s.
Dr. Buscaglia came from a high-spirited Italian-American family. He could bring tears to his eyes just by describing his mother singing at the stove or make his mouth water simply by recalling spaghetti laid so high on the platter that he could not see his sister across the dinner table.
His association with hugging became his trademark at lectures. Thousands of people would stand patiently waiting to hug him after a presentation.
There’s a old Irish folk song titled, We All Need a Hug, written by Ben Sands. The words:
I remember I wasn’t much older,
four or maybe five at the most.
And going to school mornings were colder,
there was no such thing as a Bus.
Our mother would be searching for school hugs
and combing our |hair the wrong way,
As she buttered our toast and buttoned our coats
here’s what my mother did say:
Ah, we all need a hug in the morning,
and one at he end of the day.
And many as possible squeezed in between
to keep the troubles at bay.
No matter wherever you ramble,
our problems be great or small.
It is my belief that for instant relief,
A hug is the best cure.
And, finally, Robert Fulghum wrote, “And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world it is best to hold hands and stick together ”
MARJORIE GOTTLIEB WOLFE is a retired business educator. She practices what she preaches and always hugs her 3 sons and 7 grandchildren.