Lydia Denworth, ’The Surprising, Undeniable Power of Touch – A newly recognized nerve system connects us in ways we never realized’,, Psychology Today (Nov 19, 2015).

Affective touch

This newly recognized system, known as affective or emotional touch, consists of nerve fibers triggered by exactly the kind of loving caress a mother gives her child. (…) It is possible that these neurobiological foundations of attachment might play a far more significant role in human behavior than has previously been recognized, forging connection and increasing our chance of survival. These fibers may also help our minds construct and integrate a sense of self and other, informing our awareness of our own bodies and our ability to relate to people around us. (…) Affective touch is a potential way in to understanding the development of the normal social brain. (…) We may be able to identify and develop new treatment solutions based on touch – particularly for conditions as diverse as Rett syndrome, autism, neuropathic pain, and spinal cord damage.