My daughter, who is going to be five months old next week, likes to be touched. While she nurses, she rubs her hair and face and my breast. Her little eyes get unfocused and she sighs with contentment. When she plays, she often rubs new objects or delicately licks them to learn about their texture. She's recently started reaching out and touching things to explore. Her sense of touch is often more important to her leaving and well being than her sense of sight.
Yesterday, when I was sad and angry and hurt over a PTA situation, she reached out and touched my face. It made me feel better. I cuddled her close, and some of the physical symptoms of my negative emotions fell away. As an adult, I often forget that touching and being touched is necessary to my well being. It's part of who we are as primates. Our brains need physical contact with others to be well.
Last night, after an awful week, I feel asleep touching my husband. Laying in the dark, I realized I had missed him in a physical way, in spite of the fact we'd spoken, texted, and saw each other every night. We hadn't had time to simply be together. My muscles relaxed. My breathing slowed, and my blood pressure lowered. I felt better and managed to finally fall asleep after a week of struggle.
Our bodies are incredibly sensitive and complex. Our skin is also our largest sensory organ, and it is one that we often forget processes a huge amount of the information we receive about our world. It can also help us feel (literally) connected to reality, to the world, and to each other.