It has been argued that touch, the “lowest sense,” is the oldest and most primal.3 While vision distances us from the world, touch unites us with it. If something is close enough to touch you, it’s also close enough to soothe and protect you … or to harm you. A startling research study in the late 1950s demonstrated that for an infant, tactile stimulation can be even more desirable than food. American psychologist Harry Harlow conducted an experiment with rhesus monkeys that had been raised without mothers. The infant monkeys were given a choice between two artificial surrogate mothers. Although both were constructed of rough wood and wire mesh, one was equipped with a bottle of nourishing milk while the other was covered with soft cloth. To the surprise of researchers, the monkeys consistently chose to spend time with the soft “mother” even though it had no source of nutrition.4 Though the methods and conclusions of this research have been questioned, subsequent studies using subjects ranging from baby rodents to preemies in neonatal care units have reinforced the critical importance of tactile stimulation.