There is a healing science associated with touch, from reducing stress hormones to increasing levels of melatonin and serotonin.
Editor’s note: This article was written by Buckner President and CEO Albert Reyes and originally posted in The Dallas Morning News as part of their ongoing opinion commentary on faith, called Living Our Faith.
I believe in the healing power of science and medicine. I also believe in the healing power of love and faith. They are not diametrically opposed when caring for those who are sick and the most at-risk.
We are half a year into the coronavirus pandemic. In those six months, we have learned a lot about the virus, from how it is transmitted to COVID-19 symptoms and testing. The country’s top health officials now believe an approved vaccine is right around the corner.
During this period, we have also learned a lot about the human soul, or at least we validated what many of us already knew. People need people. There is a healing science associated with touch, from reducing stress hormones to increasing levels of melatonin and serotonin. The University of Miami even created an entire research institute to study the effects of touch therapy. There is an emotional and spiritual healing that comes with a human connection.
Our faith is also a vital component of healing. It’s easy to recall the biblical images of lone figures like Jonah and Moses discovering strength in their faith through solitude, but let us not forget there is a reason God sent Jesus to earth in the flesh, what theologians call the Incarnation. For many of us, faith grows stronger through fellowship. Companionship reminds us that we are loved by others as well as by God.
Thousands of our fellow Texans are missing those reminders that they are loved. Many senior adults residing in nursing homes and assisted living facilities are faced with a second pandemic — one brought on by isolation and loneliness. Senior living communities have been closed to visitors since mid-March and even recent policies aimed at a slow, safe reopening do not offer a real solution.
Isolation and environmental sterilization are easier solutions to propose when not personally impacted by the virus, but with more than half a million Texans testing positive for COVID-19, the odds of being personally impacted are increasing. I used to be insulated from the impact of the virus. Now I’m not.