… According to science we have five main sensory systems known as sight, sound, smell, taste and hearing. It has been documented through clinical observation that separation at birth of the infant from mother can have dire mental, emotional and physical consequences. This is noted in particular with babies who are separated at birth in hospital, and in children who grow up in orphanages without normal care and touch.
A separation at birth immediately deprives the infant of feeling of loved, happy and secure. When separated from the mother, newborns will actually begin to build a resistance to touch and nurturing (despite the desperate need for positive touch) and the ability by the brain to handle and assimilate touch actually becomes impaired. Infants separated at birth and orphans in homes without primary care-givers often develop symptoms of listlessness and depression.
The essentialness of movement
Dr Prescott also discovered that we have another critical sensory system; movement. He learnt, through observing infants and monkeys, that apart from touch, movement is a critical sensory system for healthy emotional and physical development. Together, a lack of tactile stimulation, coupled with lack of movement, leads to mental and emotional dysfunctional behaviours including depression, violence, self-mutilation, addictions and aversion to touch.
Movement is a sensory system connected to the vestibular sensory system, the auditory system of the inner ear, which is in turn connected to the cerebellum. It is involved in all autonomic functions of the autonomic nervous system and all bodily functions are affected by movement. The brain literally needs sensory stimulation and movement for normal growth and development, and lack of touch and movement stunt brain cell growth.
For example, two monkeys, separated from their mothers, both given identical surrogate fur-covered bottles (mothers) in their cage, would respond and develop in a completely different way according to whether the surrogate mother was moving or not. The monkey in the cage with the still, lifeless surrogate became listless, depressed, anti-social and violent. When a new monkey was introduced into the cage with the monkey brought up with the static surrogate, the latter monkey would violently attach the former monkey if it tried to be friendly or touch it. In other words, instead of receiving the touch, it would push the other monkey away violently and defend itself at all costs.
On the other hand, the monkey given the moving surrogate developed much better relationship skills and emotional behaviours. When another monkey was introduced into its cage, it responded gently, allowing the new monkey to touch it and play.
Through these experiments Dr Prescott thus discovered that our emotional and sensory systems are not separate, they develop together, and that sensory deprivation will lead to emotional deprivation. …
So much of standard medical child care and advice to parents derives from the prussian model that was prevalent in pre-nazi germany. Newborn babies need their mothers’ bodies immediately and without exception. Babies need to be carried against mom’s body. They need breast feeding and touch and smells and all the things that come with normal non-pathologized childcare. Normal birth is not a disease-management process. Standard obstetrical and child care is child abuse and has been for many years. We need to keep medicine away from children as much as possible.