The truth about touch is that it’s your primary language and it’s the sense that boosts your immune system, creates connections with others, and is needed for survival. Touch is one of the most underrated yet highly effective healing tools we have as humans.
Today, the primary way of connecting is through technology. As amazing as this can be (I mean I get to talk with people all around the world face to face from the comfort of my home) it’s severely lacking in the physical touch department. And unfortunately, there are some major consequences to that.
Humans are social creatures and the way to socialize is through the senses.
Touch is the first sense to develop through the same cells as your nervous system. You actually begin learning about touch in the womb! And when you grow older, it functions even after seeing and hearing fade. Touch is your life-long sense!
Touch also directly affects receptors in your body, which stimulate the central nervous system into a state of relaxation. Ahhhh! Deep breaths for more relaxation.
Another fun fact about touch, is that when you get that loving, safe touch, a powerhouse hormone, oxytocin, is released. Oxytocin is a “feel good” and “bonding” hormone that boosts your mood, increases your immune system, and decreases stress and tension. You want more oxytocin in your life!
Touch is also a way of communication. It’s your social sense. Animals all over the planet use touch as their main source of communication. As a human, you use handshakes, hugs, and kisses on cheeks as a greeting with another, but most importantly, you touch others to feel comfort and belonging.
The Science of Touch
Scientific studies show that touch is a necessary element of life. In one study, newborns are provided with abundant food and shelter but are not provided with touch. What it shows is that they do not thrive, and some of them do not survive.
During and after WWII, many orphanages were understaffed and overbooked, so most children were rarely touched and stayed in their cribs without human interaction. This resulted in children not getting proper attention and they developed slower.
Humans also need touch to develop and grow. As children we learn about love and affection from touch. As a child, you were curious about your environment and began to learn through touching your surroundings.
Often, children are scolded or given orders about touching. Some orders are for safety but others create a social norm that touch is bad. For example, I’m sure you were told at some point, “keep your hands to yourself!” when exploring touch as a child. Your innocent desire for touch was quickly condemned and made into something bad or negative. Comments like this directly inform how you shaped your relationship with your world and others.
Rediscover Your Relationship with Touch
You can learn to let go of old beliefs around touch so you can create healthy boundaries with yourself and with others. As an adult, touch often becomes sexual. Because of this, most of the time you lack safe, nurturing, non-sexual touch, which is the kind of touch you need as a human
I want you to rediscover touch as an opportunity for healing. To touch another is an honor. It requires your attention and love. To receive touch is a gift, only if you’re feeling safe and willing to be touched. Be mindful of the ways you touch others. Notice if you’re asking permission or you’re assuming you can. Also, notice the unspoken agreements you have with certain relationships in your life about touch.
Self-Touch is a great way to engage your sense of touch. Especially if you’re alone or really don’t like other people touching you. Check out my online course SELF TOUCH HEALING where I walk you through self-touch on each of your body parts so you can explore your relationship with touch.
Since touch is part of our human experience, you might be thinking, why would I need to learn about touch? I know how to touch. It’s so natural to me.
Well that might be the case but I’m always amazed at how something we think is common sense is actually not so common.
Here are five specific guidelines that you can use to touch with more awareness and intention:
Be 100% Present: This is the number one trick to touching others. Your attention matters and giving it to another human is a gift. When you are touching a body, remember that body has been through all sorts of experiences, pleasurable to traumatic. In this moment, you are connecting with your full attention so you can create a container of safe space for you and the other.
Go slow: Slowing down allows each person to notice the sensation more fully. It also gives the giver a chance to pick up on the intuitive and energetic body. Going slow gives you an opportunity to receive non-verbal feedback much easier and you can adjust as necessary.
Not too soft, not too hard: Finding the pressure that feels full and complete. Too soft can be irritating or tickle and too much creates a stress response in the body which defeats the healing powers of touch. No pain no gain is not a mantra to hold in this case.
Ask for feedback: Don’t hesitate to ask your person how it is feeling. You can ask about the pressure you’re using, would they like more or less pressure, do they want you to use more oil or less oil. Keep the questions specific.
Use your breath to connect: Find your breath before you begin touching someone else. This grounds you in your body, which creates more awareness as you touch. When you notice your breath, you’re also able to tap into their breath and use it as a way to connect deeper together.
Now it’s time for you to take action by answering these Inner Reflection Questions:
- What is your relationship with touch?
- Is touch part of your daily experience? If so, in what ways?
- What would you like to learn about touch?
Let me know in the comment box below.
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Remember, you always deserve your time and attention so you can live in the truth of who you are.
Until next time,