Let's talk about touch.
It is believed that this is the first sensation in the womb and that this incredible sense of ours is developed as early as 8 weeks in utero.
It is also the last sense you will most likely have and experience...
THINK ABOUT THAT...
There is no replacement for human touch, Babies who are deprived of touch have a whole host of issues associated with it: serious cognitive issues, delayed muscle development, behavioral issues and sadly a lack of empathy and trust. Sadly, these issues do not resolve themselves and will follow into adulthood.
Therapeutic touch in the form of simple massage can significantly lower the stress hormone cortisol and helps to release the feel good hormone oxytocin, and endorphins which decrease pain.
Even massaging your own skin will help to increase activity of the vagus nerve that runs from the base of your neck to the abdomen. This little piece of self care can assist in improved mood, enhanced circulation and improved digestion.
Studies also show that to give touch is just as beneficial as it is to receive. Dr. Tiffany Field of the Touch Research Institute has MANY documented studies from Mothers of newborns to family caring for elderly loved ones. The common link in all of the studies, was that anyone who is touched or is touching is better for it.
As we age our desire for touch and the need does not go away and unfortunately, as a generation they are the least likely to receive touch. This is also the generation that shows some significant gains in receiving touch.
Senior facilities that recognize the need for implementing touch as part of their care giving, report seeing fewer problems with behavior, residents are more comfortable physically and are opting for healthier foods.
Some senior facilities in metropolitan areas are offering up "Cuddle Parties"" where participants can receive touch in a safe non-sexual environment. I for one don't hate the idea of a stranger touching me, I'm a massage therapist after all, touch is what I do. It is an interesting development in this world where an organized party of strangers is called to do the work of what we should be doing with our friends and family...
In todays climate of the world, where the ability to trust and have empathy for your fellow human seems to be on the decline, perhaps we could turn things around.
I'm hopeful for a turn around. I'm hopeful for a place where touch is welcomed, expected and accepted, where touch is a thing of honor and love. Do yourself a favor and TOUCH someone today.
The following is a list I have compiled with 10 years of listening to mothers talk... These are gifts that come from the heart and have so much to offer, how could you pass it up? Rather than purchasing another baby gadget or piece of clothing or a stuffed animal, let your gift be the one that stood out and meant so much.
1. Prenatal Massage Gift Certificate - A pregnant body is a RAPIDLY changing body and with it comes rapid weight gain and all the aches and pains you can imagine. A prenatal massage is a gentle affirmation of love and comfort to an expecting mother and will offer relief. Find out who she uses and see if her current Therapist is able to accommodate prenatal and postpartum massage. If not inquire at ABMP.com to find a pregnancy massage specialist. Also, don't ignore the need for massage postpartum. It is a gentle reminder to have her take care of herself and will be a welcomed session after the birth.
2. Infant Massage Classes - A perfect gift for the new Mother. Especially an anxious Mother, massage will help her to read her little one and learn his or her language. It empowers, calms and helps the infant in the same way it helps us, reduced stress, calming and relaxing and will help baby sleep better and be happier. Find a certified Infant Massage Instructor at IAIM.net
3. Meal Train - You know how nice it is to come home from a long day to a prepared hot dinner that you didn't lift finger to do. Why not put together a series of meals for her with a few friends. Make sure you are aware of any allergies or food restrictions before starting this task. What we eat is always important but with a nursing or healing mother it is paramount. During this time we need to take time to nurture ourselves and our bodies, what better way than with a home cooked ready made meal. Find out what she loves and do it. Also, don't forget the people stopping in. Bake cookies or coffee cakes or quick breads. She can grab a quick bite during her midnight feeding and feed the neighbors stopping in to see the new baby...
4. Babysitting Coupons - Finding someone you are comfortable enough with to leave your newborn or even toddler with can be nerve wracking. Chances are that as a guest at the shower you are already a trusted friend. She will be more likely to ask for help if you offer in this way.
5. Social Contact - Our society takes it as normal that we give birth then hide in our homes, alone until we have a spouse come home or you go back to work. Isolation is a terrible thing we have come to accept as a norm of young mothers. Nothing good comes from isolating a mother and new baby. A new mother and infant need to be card for and nurtured. Take her a warm beverage and treat of her choice and let her talk. Catch a Moms and me yoga class or baby wearing gym class, meet her at the park, trail head, Mall or wherever she prefers just let her lead the way with conversation.
6. Potpartum Doula - Someone to help, guide and support during the postpartum period. Find one at ProDoula.com they can help with all of these resources locally. They provide non medical support and care that is judgement free. There are some that will even do overnights to help a new mother get her rest, do light cleaning and even meal prep.
Do you see a theme here..? its about support. Its about empowering and nurturing the new Mother. If you'd like my help with this, I am here to serve. Give me a call. 360-791-7861
Author Michelle Moody
I lead a happy little life, where my mission is to spread love, empathy and healing through massage.