I saw this video and just had to share it to metaphorically emphasise the power of touch.
There are some in the physiotherapy profession that bang on about how pointless manual therapy is, and whilst the evidence base confirms that we are unlikely doing anything mechanically (i.e. resetting joints, correcting leg length discrepancies, increasing tissue viability) (Bereznick, Kim Ross, & McGill, 2002; Lederman, 2010), you can’t refute the power of touch (Bjorbækmo & Mengshoel, 2016).
At a biochemical level a whole host of reactions and releases occur that earns trust, provides comfort and can make us feel safe. Although I am highlighting more pleasant aspects of touch, it is not all one-sided. Contextually, touch can mean a whole host of different things and so I don’t intend to misrepresent the power of touch.
The sharks in this video have likely never been touched in such a way that humans touch each other. However, as with all animals trustworthiness is something that is earned and not automatically given. It can also be withdrawn through the simplest of misdemeanours.
What a wonderful and powerful experience for both species.
N.B. My biases have influenced this post heavily! Of course I want to dive and pet sharks like dogs!
Bereznick, D. E., Kim Ross, J., & McGill, S. M. (2002). The frictional properties at the thoracic skin-fascia interface: Implications in spine manipulation. Clinical Biomechanics, 17(4), 297–303. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0021-9290(02)00014-3
Bjorbækmo, W. S., & Mengshoel, A. M. (2016). “A touch of physiotherapy” – The significance and meaning of touch in the practice of physiotherapy. Physiotherapy Theory and Practice, 32(1), 10–19. https://doi.org/10.3109/09593985.2015.1071449
Lederman, E. (2010). The fall of the postural–structural–biomechanical model in manual and physical therapies: Exemplified by lower back pain. CPDO Online Journal, 1–14.