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.
Author Michelle Moody
I lead a happy little life, where my mission is to spread love, empathy and healing through massage.