You may have never heard of “warm touch enhancement…”
But I’ll bet you’re practicing it right now with your loved one.
You’re rubbing his shoulders or giving him a hug because you want to give comfort or feel connected.
What you may not realize is that your actions are making him healthier, physically and emotionally.
Caring touch doesn’t just communicate affection and love. It creates physiological changes in the body, which are particularly beneficial for men.
It also makes him more likely to do nice things for you!
So, if you’re not cuddling as much as you used to, read on to discover how touch can make him happier, healthier, and even more cooperative…
Why We Cuddle
A touch is worth a thousand words.
The way someone touches you tells you everything. How they feel about you, how they’re feeling in that moment, what they want from you.
Touch is such a powerful way of conveying emotions that we can tell what a touch means without any visual or verbal cues.
Researchers at Berkeley asked two strangers to sit on either side of a barrier. One person stuck their arm through the barrier. The other person was given a list of emotions and told to convey each emotion, one by one, through nothing more than a brief touch on the other person’s arm.
The participants could guess what the touch was trying to convey—gratitude, sympathy, love, even anger and fear—60% of the time.
(Amusingly, researchers found two instances where communication broke down: when women were trying to convey anger to men, and when men were trying to convey compassion to women!)
You’ve experienced the language of touch yourself.
When he touches you in that way,you know exactly what he means.
But touch shouldn’t just be reserved for physical intimacy.
Being touched calms us down and helps us relax. When we’re stressed or upset, a cuddle makes us feel better. Touch makes us feel connected and keeps our bond strong.
It also builds reciprocal relationships, which means he’s more likely to do what you want if you’ve recently been physically connected.
When we’ve been in physical contact with someone, we’re more likely to cooperate and share with them.
A study even found that waiters get bigger tips if they touch the shoulder of the person paying the bill.
You Don’t Have to Cuddle
Not all men like to cuddle. But cuddling isn’t the only kind of affectionate touch.
Positive touch might look like resting a hand on his thigh, sitting next to him, leaning a head on his shoulder, gripping his hand, or giving him a massage.
The key ingredients are (1) it’s affectionate, and (2) there are no expectations attached.
Researchers call this warm touch, because the emotion conveyed by the touch is warm and affectionate.
A warm touch enhancement program taught couples to use touch to listen to one another better—by feeling the tension in each other’s shoulders, for example—as well as how to give neck and shoulder massages.
Couples practiced these two forms of touch for 30 minutes three times a week for a month.
At the end of the intervention, couples had lower blood pressure, lower stress levels, and a greater sense of feeling bonded as a couple.
Incorporate Touch into Your Routine
The couples that experienced the most positive benefits were the couples who put aside time for touch.
Regular day-to-day affection is great, but it doesn’t transform your relationship in the way that making time for touch does.
You may not want to put aside 30 minutes three times a week for a massage or cuddle, but there are probably ways you can incorporate more physical touch into your life.
Do you sit next to each other while eating meals? Do you sit side-by-side on the sofa? Do you hold hands when you walk?
Look for opportunities for physical contact, no matter how small. Touch is a beautiful way to show love and remind each other that you’re not alone. When times are difficult, we all need that.