Ever have a relationship where you wonder why you feel like you're not as close as you used to be, but you don't know why? You talk regularly, you spend time together, but still have trouble feeling close? You might not be touching enough.
The feeling of being touched by (or touching) another person is amazingly powerful. It is one of the strongest forces bringing two people together, bringing an instant depth of connection unavailable by any other means. It brings a communication that would require hundreds or even thousands of words, all in the space of a moment.
Physically speaking, human contact causes your body to release a slew of different chemicals. Many of these affect the brain, thus affecting your mood. While that is the "scientific" explanation, it's very hard to describe in scientific terminology the mental connection that is facilitated through physical touch.
Touching another person brings instant intimacy (not necessarily in the sexual sense). That is why many people are uncomfortable touching strangers, and some people even have trouble touching the people with whom they are close. They are afraid of opening themselves up to possible hurt, and touching opens you up much deeper and faster than words. Words allow you to keep a safe difference… touch obliterates that distance.
The type of contact makes a difference as well, type being differentiated by three things… the surface area of the contact, the length of the contact, and the points of contact. The depth of the contact varies directly with the surface area if the other two factors remain the same. The same is true for the length of contact… longer contact brings deeper connections. The third factor, the points of contact, though, is by far the largest factor. Skin on skin contact is, generally far more intimate than through clothing, even when it's shaking hands versus sitting close enough that your legs touch (through clothing). There are a few areas, however, that are special… one is the leg above the knee, another is the face (especially the lips), and the third major area is the torso. These areas bring deeper intimacy of touch, even if it is through clothing, though of course skin on skin contact in these areas is even deeper than that.
If you want to get closer to someone in your life, make sure you touch them more often. However, make certain that the other person is not uncomfortable with your touch, or it will cause them to push you away, rather than draw you closer. Also, touch them at appropriate times, in appropriate ways… in other words, don't just spontaneously go up to a casual acquaintance and give them a big, long-lasting hug. Keep all of your contact, your touch, in a zone that's comfortable to both of you… though you're safe pushing the edge of what's comfortable to you, that's not necessarily the case with pushing the edge of what the other person is comfortable with… you might overstep the bounds accidentally and cause them to distance themselves instinctively.
With that in mind, if you want deeper contact, a deeper connection, with someone, find ways and times that you can touch them more without making them uncomfortable.