Touch is one of the most elementary tools we have to restore and calm our nervous systems. It is hard to feel embodied if we don’t feel comfortable in our own skin, for many of us finding comfort in our own skin can feel like a constant struggle. Our bodies are like large expansive landscapes, shifting, evolving and changing. They mold and interact with our environment; the body will remember your patterns and life stories. For many of us these stories have such an impact that they can cause us to feel lost or disconnected from our own bodies.
Experiencing forms of touch therapy is to help bring back an awareness of what we are sensing inside the periphery of our skin, this is a chance to feel the contours of your body in space, grounded by a supportive touch. It allows us to discover tensions that have been held for so long that they have hardened or become numb, by holding a nurturing touch we can bring life back to the area.
Something as simple as touch is profoundly powerful, as a massage therapist my journey with touch has evolved much through the years. Initially I was taught how to palpate to feel the problems and then try to’ fix’ them. My practice shifted dramatically when I started training more in practices that supported the unwinding and release of fascia within our bodies. Beginning to understand that as massage therapists we are facilitators and the intention is to create a space where you feel safe and supported to breathe at ease in your body and release. I have always seen bodywork as a collaborative experience, similar to dancing with someone, you both soften and yield to each other to facilitate a space to open and move.
The practice of cultivating a listening touch was more akin to learning a new language. My hands becoming a sensory organ, trusting intuition and listening to what the body needs rather than what I think it needs, a great lesson, which continues to require presence and patience. This way of being shifted how I started to show up in the world, it needed me to slow right down and listen. I realized how I was ignoring and not being present to my own body’s sensations of discomfort; being aware how much easier it is to show up for other people and not for us. I really believe that creating space for yourself makes you stronger and more able to show up for others.
I’ve had the honor of supporting folks at various different phases of life; bodies that are brand new while also those at the end of their lives. Some that has been cut open, broken and healed up with scars, others that are deep in transition holding both joy and grief. I find that touch therapy is extremely beneficial during times of great change. Providing an outlet for emotional release, allowing someone the safety to express feelings that might have been challenging to verbalize otherwise.
Cultivating time and space for you to receive healing touch can help foster a sense of connection when one might be feeling isolated and alone. Many of us walk through the world feeling touch starved, not knowing what kind of touch they desire or how to ask for it. Just like you can thirst for water, you can thirst for touch and it can be challenging or scary to talk about. There is no right way of existing in our bodies but supporting them to feel safe is imperative, I offer a welcome to all bodies with compassion and absolutely no judgment.