Learn about the power of touch

Skin contact helps us develop physically and emotionally

Discover the power of touch and the effect it has on our lives, from childhood through to adulthood. Understand how the sense of touch works and much more.

The power of touch — understanding the science

Touching is more than just skin deep — it interacts with touch receptors to send messages through the body using neurons.

Sense of trust


The sense of touch can easily be made part of the daily routine. Touch and closeness create trust – and they are very important for children’s development. The important sense of touch can be combined with the gentle application of NIVEA Creme.

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, 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

The sense of touch can be soothing and comforting in adults as well as children, particularly in times of illness or anxiety.

The somatosensory system in practice

The somatosensory system allows us to experience touch, pain, pressure, heat and movement. This system relies on a network of sensors throughout the body, which are activated when there is heat or pressure against them.

So that your body knows what is going on at 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.

Sensory fun facts


Did you know that babies have already learnt the sense of touch before they come out of the womb? They move around when they sense something touching them. Babies use the sense of touch to navigate and also as a form of comfort. This is why they like to be held close after birth.