As a massage therapist sometimes I hear people say things like, “My friend tells me I should get massage …but I don’t like to be touched.” I don’t grill them, but sometimes they follow this statement with something like: “Besides I’m more comfortable caring for others, I don’t like the idea of someone pampering me.”
It makes me really sad when I hear this.
Well, sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words:
As you can see by the relaxed, happy faces of these creatures, safe, non-sexual touch is a mammalian birthright! It’s part of how we receive care and feel connected. It’s wired into our DNA and part of the glue that creates social bonds.
Remember that receiving is just as important to creating connection as giving. If you’re someone who always has to be giving, massage may be a good way to strengthen your receiving muscle. It’s a weird thing, but having the vulnerability to let others care for you occasionally is key to creating deep, lasting bonds.
I want to acknowledge that some people have really good reasons for feeling leery of touch. Have real compassion for yourself if this applies to you. Hurtful touch can cause a deep wound.
However, if you’re at the right part of your journey, reclaiming touch as a safe, soothing experience can be incredibly healing and fruitful.
How to reclaim touch for the touch challenged:
1. Let your hugger friends hug you.
We all know them: the huggers. If they haven’t already stopped hugging you because you turned into a statue that last time they tried, let them hug you. These are people you like anyway, so it’s a good place to start. You can even initiate by slowly moving toward them with your arms raised slightly. This is the friendly penguin method.
They’ll be glad you’re back on the list of friends they can hug.
2. Get extra cuddle time with your pets.
Shamelessly savor it. If you have a cat with a salty personality this may take some serious finesse, but it’s well worth the effort. Purrs are healing magic.
3. Use a weighted blanket.
Let’s be honest, it’s not socially mainstream to ask people for hugs, particularly if you’re a guy. Using a weighted blanket will get you the nervous system-soothing effects of a hug with out the social risk.
Grandpa’s Garden Body Shawls and Perfect Wraps are great for this. I usually start the night with a Body Shawl under my back to take care of a few sore muscles and then pull it onto my chest when it’s not hot anymore …just because it feels so comforting.
4. Try massage and start small.
Let your massage therapist know you’re wanting to ease into this. Start with just a half hour. You can ask her to stick to areas that feel safer to you: i.e. back only, feet or hands.
A good massage therapist is also happy to work over clothes if that’s what you need. They want you to be able to relax, feel safe and have less pain in your body. If you’re not getting that vibe, find somebody else.
I’d love to hear your reactions to this article. Are you a little touch challenged? Did you grow up in a family where hugs happened on special occasions: graduations, Christmas, before and after air travel (Like I did)?
Beginners Yoga Mini-Session
This December – Mondays at 4 pm
Great for teachers and shift workers!
Are you sore and stressed and want bring more physical health and emotional balance to you life?
This three class mini-session of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation is perfect if you want to give the many benefits of yoga and meditation a try. Or perhaps it’s been a while since you’ve done yoga and want to ease back into it!
This is a small group class, only 3 to 6 students. Small group classes offer a safe and cosy enviroment where you’ll have individual attention, plus the supportive community of fellow yogis.
Class held on 3 consecutive Mondays: Dec. 7, 14, and 21.
Cost is a $60. Each class is 90 minutes long, with tea and a little social time after.
Yoga mats and props are provided, but you are welcome to bring you own if you have one.
Check out the Facebook event page for more info. Call me if you have questions or to formally register: 713-0638 (email is ok too!).
If there’s enough interest, I’ll offer a Monday at 4 pm option for the Four Month Yoga Journey starting in January.
Finally, a find from the internet:
I just couldn’t leave him out.
He looks like he’s about to make a REALLY interesting powerpoint presentation.I