Here we are, the month of love. Perhaps you dislike the hallmarky, candy obsessed holiday, or perhaps you see this as a reminder to share the love. Whether your single or on your 50th year to the beau who stole your heart years ago you better listen up, because touch=love.
It wasn't long into my massage experience that pain relief brought me a new sense of freedom and deep admiration for the therapist that got me there! Going into my massage education I still didn't understand the remarkable transformation occurring from 4+ hours of massage a week.
But...I saw it impacting my life!
The migraines were gone, my body image began to morph, my idea of beauty became a hand skilfully gliding through muscles, the tender parts of my body released, and tears at the drop of a hat came out. Everything that 24 years on this earth had stored seemed to just open up in cathartic release.
When you receive positive touch you release oxytocin. Oxytocin is the chemical of love and bonding. 95% of this wonder drug is produced by the cells lining the intestinal wall, probably why you feel those butterflies when you hold someone's hand or cradle your belly when your sad.
Oxytocin is called the mother hormone because it's what helps bond us to our babies, stimulate milk production, help a baby thrive.
It doesn't stop post birth, oxytocin helps us all to thrive! What is the difference between living and thriving? Living is me going into work, doing my job, and going home. Thriving is me going into work, feeling blessed to have clients, excited to help others, celebrating your successes with you, and going home with an exuberance see my family.
Thriving is the color in the canvas of life.
Without touch infants actually die, it is as necessary to life as food and water! Without touch adults become prone to depression, anxiety, anger, ptsd, and stress.
The old form of western medicine was to not touch the dying. Before cancer and AIDS and a host of other terminal diseases became more well known, it was common practice to wrap yourself up on masks and gloves, a visual reminder of, "I don't want to touch you." Loved ones were not allowed to the bedside of their ailing family and even the act of giving birth was a detached process (maybe I'll rant about this in a future blog).
Much of this has changed, doctors and nurses are now encouraged to touch the dying and sick. Massage and Healing Touch is now brought into hospitals and institutions at exciting rates. Nurses are in line to receive holistic education and the general concensus is touch is better!
You don't need four hours of massage a week to experience the joy of touch, some great actions you can take:
-Hug someone for 20+ seconds a day
-Practice skin to skin contact with your baby (even if they're 3 mos old this has an impact)
-Hold someone's hand
-Cuddle- your spouse, your kids, your BFF
-Sit on someone's lap or have them sit on yours
-Receive massage regularly, especially during high stress times
-Give someone else a massage
-Volunteer at a nursing home and extend hugs and warm shoulders to the patients
-Rub your belly every night (next time your in ask me how to do this)
-Massage yourself during your yoga practice
-Rub your dogs belly
-Let your cat sit on your chest
-Shake someone's hand for an extended period of time (bonus- look them in the eye while you do this)
-Touch someone's arm or back when you talk to them
Be a pioneer for positive touch!
Yours in touch,
Lizzie Johnson, LMT