Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Touch: Essential for Life

There was a small bit of time before and throughout the beginning of massage school where I very often thought things such as "Ugh, is this the right career path for me? Do I feel passionate about this? Are my hands going to hurt?" and so on. I had three plans in my head when I was sitting in the academic advisors chair and not sure where to head with them. Either I would continue to persue writing, delve into the world of psychology or become a massage therapist. They all seemed bright and shiny because they all had aspects in which I felt extremely passionate about. I love to write, it's in my blood. If I became a psychologist, I could feed that hunger I have for helping people emotionally. Massage therapy? Well alternative health is kind of my thing, so that might work too. But how do you really KNOW? I could have sat around and loathed over my inability to be decisive but I decided to pick one and hope for the best. Luckily, my career allows me to do all of the things I thought I needed to choose from and more.

Okay so let's get to the point of the post, shall we? In my second year of school I finally had that "Aha" moment I had been waiting for. I took a lovely class called "Somatics" which would make any hippie hater cringe. Yes, I loved the slow paced other worldly feeling of the class but what really got to me was the book we read. If you haven't picked up "Touched by the Goddess" by Deane Juhan and have any interest in massage or being a caring human then I highly suggest you do. I cried, I released, my heart was filled with compassion and love. THIS is why I am doing this! The universe lead me here to help people with the power of touch. It's not only about helping the muscular system but also touching people on a deeper level. Touching their soul. Nourishing their spirit and giving one of the most valuable and necessary components of human life. Here is what I learned...

During World War II, orphanages were horrified and confused at the amount of infants that were unexpectedly dying. Large numbers of perfectly healthy babies who were being fed, changed and looked after were suddenly lifeless. Eventually, thanks to ongoing studies with adorable monkeys, a link was found between infants and their need for human touch. The lack of a regular nurturing touch for these innocent lives was disallowing healthy growth of their organs. ALL of their other needs were met; the things that we were all originally taught are needed for survival.

So what does this mean for post infancy? Maybe we are getting into opinions now, but look at how powerful a caress over a child's back can be. A gentle rock or a soothing hug can literally put life into these tiny beings. As we get older, do we really lose our need for safe touch? When we look at the world of massage, we see many different aspects. In general, massage helps to relieve muscle tension and relax a client. These are two of the main reasons why people seek massage therapy. When we look at it from other angles we can see that massage benefits almost every existing human condition out there. Whether it be PTSD, trauma, digestive disorders or insomnia, you are not just loosening muscles here. And what is massage but just another word for touch? I touch you, you begin a healing process of a suppressed traumatic experience. Now that's what I call powerful.

So in conclusion, please do not forget to hug your friends, pet your animals and maybe go in for regular massage if you're dealing with some deeper issues. Safe touch is love and you deserve it.