A long time ago, a dear friend told me that the problem in our society is that people don’t touch enough. I agreed on some level, yet part of me knew he was onto something.
As human beings, we are pack animals and all of us want to belong whether or not we admit that to ourselves and others. Even those of us who rebel and strive to be different want to connect to someone. Healthy touch can be a part of this connection.
Studies have shown that babies who are not touched from birth die1. Attention, touch, and emotional interaction are all important for infants as well as for all humans at any age. Especially babies who don’t enter the world through the vaginal canal, need skin-to-skin contact they didn’t receive when birthed through a cesarean section or when removed from the parents in the delivery room2. This contact helps with breastfeeding, hormone levels, and overall wellness.
Through my exploration of Yoga and Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga, which translates to the science of life, I started the practice of self-massage known as Abhyanga. I noticed that a warm oil self-massage each day not only helped my skin to be more supple and smooth, it helped me to be more grounded, calm, and I slept much more soundly.
While I still enjoy massages from other people, this daily self-massage, has been part of my routine for years and I cannot imagine how I would feel without it, physically and mentally.
Why this post? Well, to recommend that you start touching yourself daily, healthy touch. Some of us are taught not to touch ourselves especially our breasts and genitals. I suggest touching yourself all over, including those parts of you that you may not be crazy about or you have some sort of fear or guilt about touching them. Our feet and hands allow us to get places and get things done, so don’t forget them.
As a public school teacher, I was told not to touch my students, yet there were times when a hug, touch on the shoulder, or a smile were needed. As the mother of 2 teen males, I realized that there was a time when snuggling was easy. Not too long ago, I was prompted to ask if they wanted hugs as young men and to my happiest of surprise, they did. I suggest that you touch the people in your lives more often. A hug, a pat on the back, a gentle touch on the arm can change someone’s day and life.
Healthy touch is just that. So reach out and embrace the world one person at a time.
NOTE: I have received my share of unwanted touches. This is NOT what I am talking about. There is a huge difference between healthy touch and unhealthy, undesired touch.