Study after study indicates that touch has a beneficial effect on our perception of pain, treatment of disease, sense of well being, emotional and physical development.
“Touch is important for survival itself. We’re meant to be touched. It’s part of our inherent genetic development,” says massage therapist Elliot Greene.
It’s been shown that after a touch therapy, such as massage, there’s a reduction in the action of the hypothalamic area of the brain, which controls the so-called “fight or flight” response. The body’s level of stress hormones decreases and the level of endorphins increases, leading to a minimized perception of pain and a greater feeling of well-being. At the same time, the muscles being touched or massaged relax as well.
Because of the positive overall results that touch has on the body, researchers have investigated using touch as a treatment for a variety of medical complaints.
For instance, in a 1998 study on the efficacy of touch for improving functional ability in elders with degenerative arthritis, researchers at the University of Wisconsin (Eau Claire) discovered that touch improved pain, tension, mood, satisfaction and hand function.
Therapeutic touch is an intentionally directed process of energy exchange during which the practitioner uses the hands as a focus to facilitate the healing process. It is a contemporary interpretation of several ancient healing practices. According to the Nurse Healers-Professional Associates International, “Therapeutic touch is a scientifically based practice founded on the premise that the human body, mind, emotions and intuition form a complex, dynamic energy field. The human energy field is governed by pattern and order. In its most healthy state the field is balanced, however, in a disease state, the energy is characterized by imbalance and disorder.”
Touch also brings awareness to parts of the body and energies that we have disconnected from. It helps us reconnect the body as a whole (as opposed to fragmented or objectified entity) and develop our kinesthesia.
Touch is relaxing and as we know, relaxation has profound affects on our health in particular our immune system. We have seen articles on most major news sites touting all the latest research confirming the truth and power of touch for our health.
Whether as a byproduct of the exercises I use or specifically focused, I believe in the essential and healing nature