Ways To Self Soothe When Starved For Touch

Physical touch is an essential aspect of human life. It communicates feelings of love, security, and comfort. However, people might sometimes find themselves in situations whereby they are unable to access physical touch, making them starved for it. This situation might result from social distancing, personal preference, or even from living alone or being in a long-distance relationship. Nevertheless, there are safe and healthy ways for individuals to self-soothe when starved for touch. This article provides insights on some effective ways to do this.

Understanding the Importance of Touch

Touch is an essential aspect of human psychological and physiological well-being. It interacts with the body’s nervous system and causes changes, including the release of oxytocin hormones responsible for promoting a sense of bonding, intimacy, and relaxation.

An individual who is starved of touch might experience loneliness, depression, anxiety, and an increased desire to be touched. Notably, according to a study conducted by the University of California, the mere act of holding hands with a trusted person can reduce the production of cortisol, which is the hormone associated with stress.

Ways to Self-Soothe When Starved for Touch

The following are some ways that individuals can use to self-soothe when starved for touch:

Give yourself a massage

Because the touch of another human being is not present, individuals can give themselves a massage. A massage can reduce stress, anxiety, and promote relaxation. The best way to do this is by using a foam roller or a massage ball to apply pressure to the body parts that hold tension, such as the back and neck muscles.

Use weighted blankets

Weighted blankets are designed to provide a sense of comfort and security. They are filled with plastic or glass pellets that provide gentle pressure. When wrapped around the body, the blanket offers a soothing effect that mimics a hug.

Take a warm bath or shower

Warm water produces a calming and relaxing effect on the body. Taking a bath or shower helps to soothe the muscles, increase circulation, and reduce stress levels. Consider using essential oils or scented candles to create a spa-like environment.

Practice Yoga

Yoga combines breathing with physical movements that help to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Yoga is an effective way of self-soothing as it promotes the production of endorphins, which helps to make individuals feel happier and relaxed. Consider practicing high-positional poses such as fish pose or camel pose that target the chest, to have a sense of openness and release tension.

Adopt a pet

Pets are known to offer therapeutic benefits beyond companionship. According to a study conducted by the American Heart Association, owning a pet improves one’s social and cardiovascular health. Pets are excellent listeners, and they offer unconditional love, soothing touch, and companionship. Consider adopting a cat or a dog as a pet.

Wrap yourself in a warm blanket

Wrapping oneself in a warm blanket has a similar effect as the weighted blanket. It helps to promote warmth, comfort, and security. It is especially beneficial during cold weather, when the body craves warmth and comfort.

Engage in outdoor activities

Engaging in outdoor activities, such as hiking or walking, offers an excellent opportunity to connect with nature, which can reduce stress and promote relaxation. Nature offers a calming effect on our mind and body, providing an excellent avenue for self-soothing.

Practice mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness involves focusing on the present moment, which helps to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Mindfulness can be done through meditation, deep breathing, or even practicing gratitude. Mindfulness helps individuals to connect with their inner self, promoting self-awareness, and a sense of calmness.


Touch is an essential aspect of human life, and its absence can lead to feelings of loneliness, depression, and anxiety. There are healthy and safe ways that individuals can use to self-soothe when starved for touch. Individuals can give themselves a massage, use weighted blankets, take a warm bath or shower, practice yoga, adopt a pet, wrap themselves in a warm blanket, engage in outdoor activities, and practice mindfulness.

While self-soothing is an effective way of promoting relaxation, it is important not to substitute human touch entirely. Individuals are encouraged to seek physical touch wherever possible, as it has significant benefits to both physical and psychological well-being.


FAQs: Ways To Self Soothe When Starved For Touch

1. Why do we need touch and how does it affect our mental health?

Touch is a basic human need and an essential component of social interaction. Our brains are wired to respond positively to touch, which releases oxytocin, a hormone that promotes feelings of trust and attachment. When we are starved for touch, it can lead to feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anxiety. Regularly practicing self-soothing techniques, such as those outlined in this article, can provide some relief and improve our overall mental health.

2. What are some practical ways to self-soothe when starved for touch?

There are many ways to self-soothe when we are experiencing a lack of touch. Some of the techniques outlined in this article include holding and hugging oneself, using aromatherapy, practicing yoga or other physical activities, and engaging in skin-to-skin contact with a pet or comforting item. It is important to find what works best for you and to make self-soothing a regular part of your self-care routine.

3. Is self-soothing a substitute for human touch?

Self-soothing techniques can provide temporary relief from feelings of touch hunger, but they are not a substitute for human touch. It is essential to cultivate meaningful relationships and seek out opportunities for safe and consensual touch. If you are experiencing touch starvation or other mental health concerns, it is important to reach out to a trusted healthcare professional for further support and guidance.


1. Field, T. (2010). Touch for socioemotional and physical well-being: A review. Developmental review, 30(4), 367-383. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0273229710000482

2. Van der Kolk, B. A. (2015). The body keeps the score: Brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma. Penguin Books. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=9dO9AwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR5&dq=The+body+keeps+the+score:+Brain,+mind,+and+body+in+the+healing+of+trauma&ots=3qV7uxu8lU&sig=J_Ip6zACYV_OaAjR1jKfrmsZTbg

3. Gardner, A., & Lane, A. (2018). Love, Intimacy, and Touch: A Review of the Literature. Trauma, violence, & abuse, 19(4), 391-406. Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1524838016650182