The first sensory input in life comes from the sense of touch while a baby is still in the womb, and touch continues to be the primary means of learning about the world throughout infancy, well into childhood. Touch is critical for children's growth, development, and health, as well as for adults' physical and mental well-being. Yet American society, claims Tiffany Field, is dangerously touch-deprived.
Field, a leading authority on touch and touch therapy, begins this accessible book with an overview of the sociology and anthropology of touching and the basic psychophysical properties of touch. She then reports recent research results on the value of touch therapies, such as massage therapy, for various conditions, including asthma, cancer, autism, and eating disorders. She emphasizes the need for a change in societal attitudes toward touching, particularly among those who work with children.
About the Author
Tiffany Field is Director of the Touch Research Institute and a Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics, Psychology, and Psychiatry at the University of Miami School of Medicine.
"An interesting, well-written book with an extensive bibliography."—Library Journal
"In the hands of Tiffany Field, touch, 'the mother of the senses,' finds its muse. An engagingly written book coursing from the physiology lab to 'new age' therapy, Touch never fails to stimulate."—Lewis Leavitt, Professor of Pediatrics and Medical Director, Waisman Center on Human Development and Mental Retardation, University of Wisconsin-Madison
"Through two decades of work, Tiffany Field has given the recently considered themes of touch research and application much of their tone. Her tightly crafted, well-written, and timely book summarizes efficiently and interestingly the vast array of facts on touch from the cross-species, cross-cultural, laboratory-research, developmental, and clinical/therapeutic literatures. Touch is a must read for scientists and practitioners, parents and teachers, and all those interested in insuring that humans thrive in their developmental course."—Jacob L. Gewirtz, Director, Child Development Laboratory, Director, Behavior Analysis Program, and Professor of Psychology, Florida International University
"The healing powers of touch have been observed for centuries. Touch is the first scientific treatise on the topic. Field blends together historical, biological, and psychological perspectives on touch and provides valuable insights for the promotion of health and well-being."—Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Virginia and Leonard Marx Professor, Child Development and Education, Teacher’s College, Columbia University
"The study of the five senses has largely focused on sight and hearing. Professor Field's work forces us to consider the overwhelming importance of touch to normal human development, especially in the realm of emotions. Touch stands as a major contribution to the understanding of human needs."—Michael Lewis, University Distinguished Professor, Institute for the Study of Child Development, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and author of Altering Fate: Why the Past Does Not Predict the Future
"What a great addition to our understanding of the biology of touch."—Marshall Klaus, Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco, author of Your Amazing Newborn and Mothering the Mother
"In the hands of Tiffany Field, touch, the 'mother of the senses' finds her muse. An engagingly written book coursing from the physiology lab to 'new-age' therapy, Touch never fails to stimulate."—Lewis Leavitt, Professor of Pediatrics and Medical Director, Waisman Center on Human Development and Mental Retardation, University of Wisconsin, Madison
"Tiffany Field makes it clear how much each of us has missed about the personal, scientific, and policy implications of touch. Touch, the most universal, comforting, and caring of the senses remains unstudied and unused as a way of healing and bringing people together. Field's book is essential reading for every healer—from physician to social worker to daycare teacher, to every policy maker with concerns about violence and drugs, and to everyone of us who want to love someone and express that love."—Edward Z. Tronick, Ph.D., Director of the Child Development Unit, Children's Hospital, and Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
Winner in the 2002 AAUP Book, Jacket, and Journal competition for excellence in design in the category of Jackets.