"Touch is such a critical language of connection and development from when we are babies," says Randi McCabe
, a professor in psychiatry and behavioural neurosciences at McMaster University in Hamilton. Skin-to-skin contact
benefits both child and parents, according to research, and can speed up physical and emotional development. That need for connection doesn’t diminish as we get older. Touch not only makes us feel better, research suggests it strengthens our immunity systems
, reduces diseases associated with the heart and blood, and lowers our stress too, which, wow
, could not feel more on-brand right about now. Physical touch increases levels of dopamine and serotonin
, two neurotransmitters that play a vital role in our brain's pleasure and reward systems, while also working to counteract feelings of anxiety. “Affection can temper the stress of conflict to help us cope better,” says McCabe. “While on some level our bodies are very adaptable to loads of stress, prolonged bouts, especially when you're without a support system, can be difficult to manage."