The power of touch — understanding the science
Sense of trust
How does the sense of touch really work?
In your body, you have about 5 million touch receptors beneath the skin. Whenever you sense pain, touch, or the pressure of temperature, these receptors send electric signals to neurons, which then transmit the message through the spine and onwards to the brain.
The main job of these receptors is to protect the body. For example, if the receptors send a signal that you are in pain or too cold, the brain then responds with an appropriate reaction. This may be to curl in a ball away from the pain or to make your body start shivering in response to the temperature.
The power of touch in everyday life
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The somatosensory system in practice
So that your body knows what is going on in different areas, these sensors send information back to the brain by means of neurons. In turn, these send signals up the spinal cord to the brain.
Once there, the brain decodes the messages to understand what sensations are being felt: pain, touch or temperature.