Touch

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MIT Press, Oct 17, 2014 - Health & Fitness - 264 pages
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Why we need a daily dose of touch: an investigation of the effects of touch on our physical and mental well-being. Although the therapeutic benefits of touch have become increasingly clear, American society, claims Tiffany Field, is dangerously touch-deprived. Many schools have “no touch” policies; the isolating effects of Internet-driven work and life can leave us hungry for tactile experience. In this book Field explains why we may need a daily dose of touch.The first sensory input in life comes from the sense of touch while a baby is still in the womb, and touch continues to be the primary means of learning about the world throughout infancy and well into childhood. Touch is critical, too, for adults' physical and mental health. Field describes studies showing that touch therapy can benefit everyone, from premature infants to children with asthma to patients with conditions that range from cancer to eating disorders.This second edition of Touch, revised and updated with the latest research, reports on new studies that show the role of touch in early development, in communication (including the reading of others' emotions), in personal relationships, and even in sports. It describes the physiological and biological effects of touch, including areas of the brain affected by touch, and the effects of massage therapy on prematurity, attentiveness, depression, pain, and immune functions. Touch has been shown to have positive effects on growth, brain waves, breathing, and heart rate, and to decrease stress and anxiety. As Field makes clear, we enforce our society's touch taboo at our peril.
 

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Contents

1 Touch Hunger
1
2 Touch as Communication
19
3 Touch in Early Development
45
4 Touch Deprivation
69
5 Touch Messages to the Brain
87
6 Touch Therapies
119
7 Infant Massage
145
8 Massage Therapy for Children Adolescents and Adults
161
Afterword
189
Notes
193
Index
241
Copyright

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About the author (2014)

Tiffany Field is Director of the Touch Research Institute and a Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics, Psychology, and Psychiatry at the University of Miami School of Medicine.

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