The largest-ever study on touch, developed by Goldsmiths University London researchers and conducted by the BBC, happened—ironically—right before the pandemic hit. It surveyed 40,000 people across 112 countries on their attitudes about interpersonal touch—and the findings suggest the huge cost to wellbeing in our long social-distancing era, where so much human touch has been lost. Studies have long shown that touch is essential for physical and mental health and that it reduces stress and pain—and it’s obviously the lynchpin of so many wellness and spa practices.

Findings from The Touch Test:

*72% of people report a positive attitude toward touch.
* 54% say they get “too little touch” in their day-to-day life.
* 61% said a hug from a partner before sleep had a positive effect on their sleep.
*People who like interpersonal touch have higher levels of overall wellbeing and are less likely to experience loneliness.

Lead researcher Professor Michael Banissy summarized: “Touch is not a luxury—it plays such a key role in life, cutting across so many aspects, including benefits for mental health, general health and our immune system as well as social benefits, how we form bonds, and how we maintain them.”

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Listen to the researchers discuss findings/implications.

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