Having the shivers/tingles/chills is a sensation often encountered by people everywhere that we never pay any mind to, yet it has many meanings and superstitions attached to it. When someone says they feel tingly, he/she is describing an instance where he/she experienced a prickly, tremulous, and “cold rush” sensation all over or in one part of the body. In many ways the tingles symbolizes a feeling of forewarning or exists as a telling sign about any situation in which an individual experiences them; it can almost be thought of as the physical counterpart of a premonition and might even accompany a “gut feeling”.
I’ve postulated that there are mainly three ways in which the tingles translate into our society: the “warning tingles”, the “flirty” tingles, and the “lack of circulation” tingles. The warning tingles are the equivalent of your body saying “Hey! Something isn’t right, but I’m not really sure what it is….” For example, if someone walks by and stares at another person for an unusually long amount of time, the person being stared at may shiver and turn away and later tell his/her friends ” such and such gives me the creeps!” This feeling and judgment is deeply rooted in superstition; the person who stared at is assuming that the character of the individual staring is bad or dangerous or threatening based off of the “tingles” he/she experienced in his/her body.
In the very opposite direction, the tingles may be a sensation induced or encouraged by one person being in the presence of someone they like, love, or are attracted to to some degree. It is meant, in this circumstance, to be an “obvious” sign to the person experiencing them about how they feel about the person they experience them around. The tingles can also be a resulting sensation from a very light, almost “not there” touch, something I believe that symbolizes the sensation itself because it stems from believing something is there that may or may not actually be there.
Lastly, in it’s more literal sense, tingling is a sensation that can also come from cutting off the circulation to a body part, thus reducing the blood flow to that area, This makes the area go numb, so when blood circulation is no longer stopped from coming to the area, it creates a tingling feeling from the rush of blood. This is a weird sometimes painful feeling, and we even call a superstitious name; instead of saying “there’s poor circulation in my hand” we instead say “my hand went to sleep”, equating the tingling sensation with the idea of limbs waking up.
The “tingles” is an important sensation in our society because it speaks on behalf of basic human intuition. It is one of the ways in which we combine physical signs and guesswork to premonish what is occurring or might occur.