How often do you got to get manicures, massages, acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, spa days? How often do you touch yourself purposefully, rub your neck, your legs, your feet, put on oils or lotions? Are you someone who is comfortable being touched by people? How aware are you of the importance of touch in your life? How comfortable are you with being touched and touching others?
This is something I’ve thought a lot about on and off for years. I am a touch positive person, but I am also aware of how unfortunately, disturbed and sick people use touch to violate the trust of others, leading to trauma, isolation, repression, depression and worse. It’s fucked up. Because touch is incredibly important and key to our survival and a sense of calm, safety and energetic balance and joy.
In humans, oxytocin is thought to be released during hugging, touching, and orgasm in both genders. In the brain, oxytocin is involved in social recognition and bonding, and may be involved in the formation of trust between people and generosity. Oxytocin first became of interest to researchers when they discovered that breastfeeding women are calmer when exercising and experiencing stress than moms who were bottle-feeding. It is just one part of the important, complex neurochemical system in our bodies that helps us adapt to emotional situations.
God knows we need all the stress releasing we can get in the toxic climate we currently find ourselves living through at the moment.
I often wonder about people who provide services that require them to touch people on a daily basis. Like sometimes I’ll be having my hands massaged by a manicurist and sometimes I will allow myself to fully relax and not be self-conscious about being touched by a stranger. This is easier when the person acknowledges me with eye contact or smiles and is attentive, as opposed to someone who is massaging my hands while they look away or are engaged in conversation with another co-worker. When the person is touching me but looking away I get the sense that they have become detached from the importance of being present when providing this service.
But it’s hard for me to judge them. Because I don’t know what this kind of job is like. I don’t ever expect the woman who massages and scrubs my feet during a pedicure to stare lovingly into my eyes. I’m just grateful that she’s handling my feet. LOL!!
I don’t know if this is something I could do effectively everyday. But I do know that it is important, that is something I notice whenever I am paying to be touched for grooming or wellness purposes.
I really truly appreciate professionals in the field of massage and I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of having very capable and skilled people work on me. I don’t take it lightly. Because touch as a form of therapy is a deeply powerful, sensual and connective thing. It takes skill, professionalism, intelligence and maturity to provide people with healing in this way while also making them feel comfortable and safe.
I’m a big fan of hugs on a personal level, though I recognize that not everyone is. My theory about people who are adverse to touch is that they may be more sensitive to it than most, perhaps hypersensitive and require specific forms of touch from specific sources.
I love hugs so much that I have mental hug catalogs. There are about two or three people in my top 5 list of great huggers at the moment. My husband and I both agree that some people are just better at hugging than others and that weak hugs are a total waste of time and energy. LOL! My husband happens to be number 1 on that list. His hugging, holding and touching skills are part of what drew me to him initially. I’d never met someone before who touched me casually in a way that made me feel as if I’d known him and loved him forever.
Did you know there are people who are professional cuddlers? Yeah, I even found out about “Cuddle Parties” from a friend years ago. LOL! I don’t know about all that but I do know that services like these are symptomatic of a society that is dire need of feeling connected in an age where social media has fragmented and isolated us in ways never experienced before, ways that allow us to be both closer and yet more estranged and segregated than ever.
Touch helps not only to release stress reducing hormones but also to shift energy that may be stagnant or pent up. The human experience is one of cycle expression. To reap the full benefits of being alive, we need to be able to healthily shift, change and evolve energy in order to process, unload and regenerate so that we can create, share, serve and receive.
Here’s to making sure you’re getting the most out of healthy touch positive experiences in your life on a daily basis. Nothing in social media can replace the power of touching and being touched by people who makes you feel safe, comfortable and supported.