Getting in Touch with Your Sense of Touch

From Issue: Discovery 12/1/2006

There have been a few times in my life when I wished that I couldn’t feel a thing. The time I smashed my middle finger between two 40-pound dumbbells was more than just a little painful. The day I leaned over a friend’s motorcycle and accidentally touched the hot muffler with the tender skin of my forearm was dreadful. You probably know what its like to think, “I wish I couldn’t feel pain.”

Have you ever given much thought to how different your life would be without the sense of touch? You would not know to move your hand off of a hot stove, and your hand could be damaged beyond repair. You might get a splinter and never know it until your body became infected with a disease. Anytime someone used words like hairy, bumpy, squishy, slimy, oily, or scaly, you would be unable to fully appreciate their meanings, because these are “touch” words. The sense of touch (though sometimes painful) is an amazing thing.

Your skin is your body’s largest organ. It is comprised of two major parts: the epidermis and the dermis. The epidermis is the top layer of skin, roughly 0.1 millimeter thick. The dermis is found underneath the epidermis and is about 1 to 2 millimeters thick. Within the dermis are some 20 different types of nerve endings, called receptors. When you “touch” an object with your epidermis, it actually is the receptors within your second layer of skin (the dermis) that allow you to feel what you touch. These receptors pass on the sensation to the spinal cord, which in turn carries the information to the brain. Your brain then processes the feeling and causes your body to respond accordingly. Thankfully, all of this happens in only a fraction of a second.

Imagine if it took 30 seconds (or more) for your skin receptors to send information from your dermis to your spinal cord and then on to your brain. It would not take long until your body was in bad shape. Taking a shower in scalding hot water for 30 seconds might damage your skin for life. Stepping on a fire-ant hill barefooted and allowing the ants to bite you for 30 seconds (before sensing what is happening) could make you awfully sick.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that our amazingly designed bodies are the product of billions of years of mindless evolution. The truth is, they were given to us by an Intelligent Designer—God—Who made our skin and the sense of touch just right.


A copied sheet of paper

REPRODUCTION & DISCLAIMERS: We are happy to grant permission for this article to be reproduced in part or in its entirety, as long as our stipulations are observed.

Reproduction Stipulations→