The Healing Power of Touch
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | RSS
Thousands of heart-rending situations are occurring around the world where the Covid-19 virus is separating loved ones from each other in their time of need. One such account, was the story of Gene and Dorothy Campbell who have been together for 60 years. Gene, age 89, who had the corona virus, was isolated inside the Life Care Center in Washington State. Dorothy, age 88, could only stand outside his window to be near him. Due to isolation policies and social distancing, people are losing the benefits of the healing power of touch. Please read more…..
Dorothy Campbell speaks to her husband in a care facility through a window. Picture by Reuters
We live in an age of endless social media. In one respect, social media does help us stay in contact with our friends, especially with those who live a long distance away. I do, however, find it ironic that despite our access to social media, what we want most during this time of mandated social distancing is to be physically present with those we care about. No amount of social media can replace the power of personal presence and touch. In fact, some research shows that social media accentuates feelings of isolation. Generally speaking, social media interactions are shallow.
Touch is one of the first senses available to us. Even before we open our eyes as newborn babies, we can already feel a touch and physical presence. Touch is a key element in the bonding between mother and child. Touch continues to play a critical role in our health and well-being throughout life.
Why is touch so important? Physical touch causes our brain to release oxytocin, which has come to be known as the feel-good and happiness hormone. Oxytocin also helps promote optimism about life. Touch also increases our levels of dopamine and serotonin which helps to regulate our mood and relieve anxiety. Medical science has also revealed that physical touch improves the function of our immune system and reduces diseases. Yet, another study conducted with retired elderly people, showed that loneliness and the lack of touch is the most accurate indicator for an individual’s life duration.
Knowing all these positive aspects of touch, it is no wonder that Jesus often used the power of touch to heal people. Mark 6:53-56 tells us that the people “scurried about the surrounding country and began to bring in the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. They “begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed.”
We see a glimpse of mandated social distancing in the Biblical accounts of the lepers. They were exiled to the caves outside the city. In Matthew 8:2-3 we read, “And then a leper approached, did him homage, and said, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” Jesus then “stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I will do it. Be made clean.'” His leprosy was cleansed immediately.”
It was through touch that the Canaanite woman, the blind, the man with the withered hand, the paralytic, Jairus’ daughter, the woman with the hemorrhage, the boy with a demon, the Gerasene demoniac, and the deaf man were healed.
It was their faith that healed these people. Jesus heals those who want His healing. Some healing is physical, while many more are spiritual. The key to receive His healing is to have faith and trust in Him.
Clearly Jesus is the Divine Physician. When he spat in the dirt, He created a medical salve, which when applied, gave sight to the blind man. Now that Jesus is risen, we are the hands and feet of Jesus on Earth. He wants us to go out and touch others and bring them, physical, spiritual and emotional healing. Through our touch, Jesus stands ready to heal broken bodies, broken spirits, and broken hearts.
In 1970, Diana Ross released the giant hit, Reach Out And Touch Somebody’s Hand. Contained in the song were these lyrics, “make this world a better place if you can.” In 1979, AT&T had a hugely successful ad campaign with the slogan “Reach out and touch someone.”
Take a moment and sing along with the uplifting video, Reach Out And Touch Somebody’s Hand.
I started this message with the story of Gene Campbell. I am happy to report, based on a news story, that Gene has recovered. Perhaps it was his wife’s presence at the window that gave him the strength to recover.
Once this pandemic is over and the social distancing rules have been relaxed, many people who were negatively impacted will need the comfort of a healing touch. Let’s be prepared to go forth, with Christ in our hearts, to touch and impact the lives of others. Let’s “make this world a better place if we can.”
Heavenly Father give me the courage to reach out and touch those who are in need with the faith and confidence that through my touch Jesus can comfort and heal them, amen.
As always, I love to read your comments below as well as hear from you personally by clicking here.
- Choosing To Be Orphans - June 4, 2023
- Competing Voices - May 28, 2023
- Sharing His Kingship - May 21, 2023
A heartfelt thank you for another powerful and insightful message. You help to lift UP my head/soul and see things with a wider and more HOPE-FILLED & truthful lens. Your committed ‘yes’ to serve in this capacity remains most fruitful. Grace remains at work in you, my friend. YOU INSPIRE and continue to share (especially during this time) as you do!!
United in prayer
Thanks for your very kind words. All praise to the Holy Spirit who inspires my message each week. Be blessed, stay safe!
Thank you for your wonderful words , very inspiring. Please be safe you and your family.
Brian: An Outstanding and Appropriate letter considering what is going on in our world. I pray that Jesus will keep us safe. Have a good week. Jim
Praise to the Holy Spirit for the message. Stay safe!
Beautifully said. Thank you
Thanks Jim! Stay safe, be blessed.
Thank you Brian. Comforting words. Praying for you and your sweetheart.
Thank you Deacon Jack
I thank God for your weekly messages of hope, faith, love and healing. Know that so many hearts are touched with your words.
While touch seemed to be His preferred method for conveying healing, Jesus also cured at a distance. Look to Matthew, chapter 8, in the healing of the centurion’s servant, for one example.
Your letters offer an aspect of distance healing to some of your readers who are hurting spiritually. The honest telling of brokenness being made whole, expressed in many of the messages, gives hope and a sense of connection, and of human touch often lacking in our lives. All done with God’s help, through your work, at a distance.
While there is no substitute for a good hug, we are all called to distance ourselves from each other, for now, to help keep each other physically well. I’m no different than many in that I’m kept from my family, and my father is in a nursing home and is isolated from my mom and our family.
While we are in this physical distancing environment, we are all challenged to find ways to stay connected to each other and to help keep each other emotionally and spiritually well, through phone calls, video chats, letters, and prayers, and so may creative ways I’ve seen on social media that can bring a smile to others. Even a simple phone call to really talk to and hear what someone has to share can mean so much to someone who is lonely. The nursing home is using staff-assisted phone calls and FaceTime to connect my mom and dad while they are separated.
One day soon, we will all be able to come back together in our everyday lives, and, more importantly, at the Lord’s table!
Very well said, thank you. This is a time as you point out that social distancing is so important. But as this crisis ends so many will be in need of that healing touch. Until then we need to take advantage of every way possible to reach out and tell others we care.
Thanks for this thoughtful post.
Thank you for touching us every week…
You are most welcome!