Have you ever come across that person who, in themselves are pleasant enough but struggles with personal contact? When you go to hug them the shoulders hunch and body stiffens making what should be a warm gesture a very awkward moment! ( these people I tend to hug even tighter!- they need it!)
You also get the people who hate physical contact of any form, from having their hair done to massages and facials. I can remember as a young therapist I would treat clients who had been given a ‘gift’ of a facial from their loved ones and knew that the moment they got on the couch they would stiffen or the eyes would flutter and never quite understand why they could not relax. Years on, after understanding emotions, environmental nature/nurture, even how a person was born and the impacts that has on an individual I can guide and steer clients in the correct treatment path.
You see touch is THE most powerful healing tool an individual has. According to Deane Juhan in his AMAZING book Job’s Body:
Without adequate tactile input, the human organism will die. Touch is one of the principal elements necessary for the successful development and functional organizations of the central nervous system and is vital to our existence as food, water and breath!
The ability to communicate non verbally is the ability to decode ones emotions. In the therapy world the sense of touch is crucial for mind and body health.
The safety and comfort of our childhood, where we as babies and children are touched as reassurance of love, care and safety also plays a part in our ability to interact socially and intimately. We experience touch in the womb in the form of vibrations from our mothers in the amniotic fluid. The first two years of an infants life is so important to brain development in the nurturing environment and relationship between it’s parents.
Juhan also states;
It is an important revelation about the state of our being to realize that our culture has so thoroughly debilitated us that we have come to believe that sensing is primary and sensing ourselves is not worth mentioning. Behind that acculturated blindness lies the reason for most of the ailments, diseases and strokes that typify contemporary culture.
Infants that are ‘yanked’ into the world often hate their heads touched, think of the infants journey, the traumatic events the child has to go through to make it’s way into the world, let alone the possible introduction of forceps, ventouse or the surprise exit of a C section. Yet the mother would want to soothe a crying baby by stroking the head. Apart from looking into alternative routes like Bowen or Cranial osteopathy the best way to calm and comfort the baby is to rub the feet.
The clients who, in their words ‘hate to be touched with massage and facials’ they too have reasons for this, fear of losing control, fear of the unknown, also past emotional trauma that makes them very guarded and protective. The sense of touch leaves them vulnerable, an emotion they see as a negative and a weakness, so barricades stay up, unless they are shown ways to deal with their issues before they make a lasting impression in the body’s tissue creating stress and illness.
So it is the season for goodwill to all men! give someone a hug, after all it is good for their health! a hug eases depression, relieves stress, lowers blood pressure, releases oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine – the ‘feel good’ hormones. The best part about a hug is , it’s free!
On the unconscious level, touch seems to impart a subliminal sense of caring, healing and connection.