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As Lockdown Nears Year Mark, We Look Back At The Impact Of Diminished Physical Touch




A medical staff member gently massages a hand of a patient suffering from COVID-19 in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center on November 25, 2020 in Houston, Texas.
A medical staff member gently massages a hand of a patient suffering from COVID-19 in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center on November 25, 2020 in Houston, Texas.
Go Nakamura/Getty Images

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We’ve all given up a lot this year, whether it’s our ability to move freely outside, our privacy or financial stability. 

Touch may seem like it’s low down on the list of sacrifices the pandemic has forced us to make, but human touch is vitally important to our physical and mental wellbeing. As reported on in The Guardian, human beings have evolved to need touch, especially in times of high stress. And yet the pandemic has meant that many of us have given up both intimate and casual forms of touch, and those who are locked down alone haven’t hugged or touched anyone in almost a year. 

We dive into the health implications. Plus, we want to hear from you - how has your relationship to human touch altered in the last year?

Guests: 

Katalin Gothard M.D., professor of physiology, neurology and neuroscience at the University of Arizona Health Sciences; she is the principal investigator of the Gothard Lab, where she leads a team of neuroscientists and trainees studying the brain activity that underlies emotional and social behaviors

Marian L. Houser, communication studies professor at Texas State University and co-founder of Living Mental Wellness, a holistic mental wellness training program