There’s no denying the power of touch. Studies have shown that touch can communicate multiple positive emotions: joy, love, gratitude, and sympathy. If touch is a language, it seems we instinctively know how to use it.
But apparently it’s a skill we take for granted. Touch can enhance attachment and security as in a mother’s arms. It can create bonds- social and intimate, and decrease stress. Subconsciously our body knows this – many people use self-caressing as a calming mechanism.
Touching releases neurochemicals that combat stress, lowers heart rate and increases oxygen levels. Massage or touching can increase circulation, help relieve pain through chemical and temperature changes, and of course “detangle” muscle tension and create positive structural changes.
Bodywork has also proven to be effective on mind/body changes and works well on symptoms such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, memory, concentration and restless sleep. Research continues to show the enormous benefits of touch — which range from treating chronic diseases, neurological disorders, and injuries, to alleviating the tensions of modern lifestyles.
Massage has been incorporated into the health care community; assisting chiropractors with structural changes and musculoskeletal injuries, to medical physicians such as orthopedics working with folks with arthritis and surgeons to treat post-surgery pain and help promote healing.
Massage therapists can also be found in sports facilities/gym to facilitate physical therapy, sports and exercise concerns, and body issues accompanying weight loss.
Professional therapists, often use many bodywork techniques to enhance these positive physiological benefits. Starting with touch, therapists can utilize numerous methods to create an individualized treatment plan. A licensed professional massage therapist is trained in basic anatomy, physiology, nutrition, and often more specific education such as lymphatic massage, sports massage and others.
Touch is a gift. Our body is a miracle that has the incredible ability to heal from within. It is our responsibility to take care of our bodies and do what we can to make it the best working machine possible. Not even to mention the pain relief, stress relief and feel good benefits that can be obtained by massage and touch.
Shake a hand, give someone a hug, and help yourself to a massage. It’s guaranteed to be more than a treat and your body will thank you for it.
Dr. Virginia Schafer has been an active part of Fairfield County since she moved to Winnsboro a few short years ago. Originally she ventured into town to write a book — The Legendary Locals of Fairfield County and fell in love with the county, the people and a special homestead. Even though her background is in health care, her love for writing brought her to the Fairfield County Arts Council where she has orchestrated the Rock Around the Clock student’s writing contest for three years running, and she serves to promote literacy and creative writing to adults and children in the county.