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Human Touch for Optimum Well-being

July 28, 2011
Massage in Frankfurt, Germany

Image via Wikipedia

For the last several weeks, I’ve been dealing with very stressful issues at work.  It’s begun to manifest in my body through stiffness, as well as neck and shoulder pain.  So, I decided it was time to get a massage.  I called, and they were completely booked.  That was a bit irritating, because the day I called, I really wanted to get the massage that day.  But, they had an opening for the next afternoon, so I took that appointment.  Less than an hour later, though, they called to tell me they’d had a cancellation, and the appointment time fit perfectly into my day.  That small thing told me I was doing the right thing about getting the massage!  But it wasn’t just the massage I was needing.

There are lots of benefits to massage.  Stress relief, stiffness relief, blood pressure control and boosting immunity are just a few per The Mayo Clinic website.  But one of the biggest benefits I find in massage is pure and simple touch.

When you have a spouse, children, people you’re affectionate with on a daily basis, touch is pretty much a part of your everyday life in one way or another.  But, when you’re single and you don’t have children, touch becomes more of a lost part of your life.  You may hug a friend on occasion, or when you visit a relative, but on the daily basis, there isn’t a lot of touch.

An article on the subject, The Benefits of Human Touch, quotes Virginia Satir, widely regarded as the “Mother of Family Therapy” as stating human beings need four hugs a day for survival, eight hugs a day for maintenance and 12 hugs a day for growth.

I’ve known for a long time that touch is important, but I didn’t really realize just how much I personally missed it in my own life, until I was recently getting a massage (though not the one I had this week), and as the therapist began on my shoulders, I found myself tearing up.  As I tried to figure out what my emotion was all about, it finally resonated with me that it was brought on by how much I miss being touched.  How much I missed those small touches like hugs, holding hands, a light touch on the arm or shoulder.

So, I have resolved that I will attempt to get a massage at least once a month, but, I will also be more free (where appropriate, of course) with hugs.

- Catherine

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