Healing touch

From “The Awakened Brain: The New Science of Spirituality and Our Quest for an Inspired Life” by Lisa Miller, PhD

Goldstein and his team found that there were two significant outcomes of handholding during the pain condition: interpersonal touch increased the comforter’s empathic accuracy and decreased the target’s experience of pain. In other words, healing touch enhances both our capacity to comfort and our success in alleviating a loved one’s pain. Also, a specific network of brain resonance seems to play a role. During the pain-touch condition, the scanners revealed a strong mirroring or synchrony between mainly the parietal region of the women’s brains and the right occipital, temporal, and parietal regions of the men’s brains. It seemed that they had found the two-brain circuitry of the caring embrace, the soothing and reassuring coming together in a comforting “There, there.” This interbrain synchrony is primarily in the alpha wavelength. It appears that our shared synchronization of alpha becomes more and more in phase based upon the intensity of close presence or touch, the level of pain or need for comfort, and the felt intimacy of the couple. Who are we to each other? We are built to comfort each other.