Our sense of touch shows us the shape, size and “feel” of our world. We are kept SAFE by learning to avoid touching a burner or a flame, a sharp edge or point, very cold metal, …….. any other suggestions?
Our feelings are HAPPY when we stroke a dog, when we get a hug, when ….. ? Our feelings are SAD when we run into something hard, cut our finger, …. ? We wonder why we ITCH and why scratching that itchy nose relieves it. Then the TICKLING is simply in a class of its own. Why does tickling make us laugh? Why are certain parts more ticklish than others? Why can’t we tickle ourselves? Why is tickling funny for only so long, then it makes us irritable? So many great questions arising from science and many are unanswerable.
THE TOUCH DETECTOR
The body organ used for touching is the skin. Every bit of skin all over our bodies, including our nails, is used for touching. The nerve endings in the skin send signals to your brain; the brain analyzes the signals and registers the effect of the touch, then signals the reaction to the rest of the body. Some sections of the skin are more sensitive than others. To demonstrate this take an object with an irregular surface like a Ping-Pong paddle) and touch it to the elbow, the knee, or anywhere but the hand, and try to identify the surface characteristics. Finally touch the paddle to the fingertips. The fingertips win “hands down” in the high sensitivity touching contest!
WHERE AM I?
Here’s a touching story: It is a warm day; I can really feel the heat on my face when I turn it up to the sky. As I walk along the soles of my bare feet are feeling something hard, hot and ridged. I turn and go down steps, which feel the same, I hold onto the rail, which also feels hot, hard and ridged against my palm. At the bottom of the steps my feet land on a soft surface, which gives way with each step, I take. After walking for a few minutes the ground feels hard and soon my feet are wet, air is gently blowing on all of my body. With each step my legs are getting wetter. I stop walking when I feel my knees getting wet. I turn around, see a friend in the distance and walk towards her. My foot comes down on something squishy and slimy in the water – Yuck! I run back to the beginning, up the steps and don’t stop until my feet feel that hard-ridged surface again. Where have I been?
FACTS on TOUCH:
ðYou have more pain nerve endings than any other type.
ðThe least sensitive part of your body is the middle of your back.
ðThe most sensitive areas of your body are your hands, lips, face, neck, tongue, fingertips and feet.
ðShivering is a way your body has of trying to get warmer.
ðThere are about 100 touch receptors in each of your fingertips.
ðRattlesnakes use their skin to feel the body heat of other animals.