The magic of the personal touch

Out of touch – out of mind  >  Our style of therapy-by-phone scores badly when it comes to helping people with touch deprivation!  People need people, or more precisely, people need to feel love. Those most commonly affected by the loss of touch are the elderly and those living on their own.

However, there are also rising rates of loneliness among younger people, who are absorbed by their technology. Their isolation means they no longer have the opportunity to receive a platonic touch. “The use of technology and mobile devices has the adverse effect of isolating users,” says a Tonic therapist. “For example, we have all witnessed the weird sight of friends in a restaurant, sitting around a table gazing at their phones. They are not talking, so why go to the restaurant in the first place!

“Then there is increasing fears around accusations of harassment. Men, in particular, are far more wary about touching other people”.

Shying away from the platonic touch

Touch is a basic human need. From a medical perspective it is known to improve your immune system, decreases your heart rate, blood pressure and stress levels. Also when you are deprived of touch, there can be widespread negative impacts, including aggressive behaviour.

But it is one thing identifying the problem, it is far harder to know what to do about it.

A new breed of touch practitioners is offering hands-on therapy. The barrier is that those most in need too often do not recognise they have a problem.

Maybe the cure lies in the hands of professional cuddlers. Heaven forbid for the reserved Brits, and yet the internet is awash with advice on how to find cuddle buddies and protocols for snuggle parties. This blog has reviewed cuddle therapy before and the general consensus is that it all sounds a touch creepy. Cuddling strangers is certainly a no-go area for either the elderly housebound or shy youngsters who are slaves to their play stations.

Tonic is unable to help with touch deprivation therapy, but family and friends can. Be aware that sometimes people around you are too scared or embarrassed to let you know that they lack touch.

Christmas is coming up, so overcome your innermost inhabitations and reach out to the lonely you know.

So celebrate the 25th December with some physical interactions which are so essential for emotional and physical wellbeing. Get out the mistletoe and give someone the best present money cannot buy. You.

Footnote > Healing touch therapy will be of little use if you have have haphephobia, which a phobia of being touched. It is also known as haphophobia, aphephobia, haptephobia, haptophobia and thixophobia.

7 thoughts on “The magic of the personal touch

  1. Tim N. Shaw (therapist) says:

    I was interested in your point that ‘sufferers’ don’t know they ARE ‘suffering’ The first step is by making people aware that the condition exists. And the A-typical cause is loneliness. Maybe a cuddle therapist (how I hate that term), massage therapist or any type of touch therapist could help, but the best starting point is family and friends. Then there is yoga or walking, meditation in its various guises or so many talking therapies. But then bottom line is that touch is crucial to our wellbeing and we should do all we can to help others receive the touch they need to live a happy and healthy life.

  2. Steve Landricombe says:

    All living beings, including us mortals, are made up of energy and, indeed, our own energy field is in constant interplay with the surrounding environment. Everything is continually exchanging energy and working toward a universal order. With the use of Healing Touch techniques, trained therapists can re-order our energy flow patterns and remove blocks to the flow. This allows us to absorb more energy from the universe, which helps healing to occur. So, ‘yes’ touch heals pure and simple.

  3. Jordan Helland says:

    The healing power of touch is well established. In fact, what you are talking about here is simply a lighter form of massage therapy which is used to relieve pain, speed recovery from injury or surgery and reduce stress.

  4. T.M (Darlington) says:

    The simple act of touching is so powerful that it can slow your heart rate, decrease your blood pressure and even strengthen your immune system. Fact! The problem is that our culture is not very affectionate – especially among us Brits! – and we are losing out on the benefits of physical interaction with others. And yet the healing power of touch is so essential for life that babies not touched regularly fail to develop normally, while children who are not lovingly touched are more likely to be aggressive adults.

  5. Harry (you know me!) says:

    A key principle of touch, and other hands-on therapies such as reiki, acupuncture and reflexology, is that a our entire body participates in healing a trauma or injury. Research has proved that there is a field of biomagnetic energy surrounding our bodies. Touch impacts on that field.

  6. Salt-girl (salt of the earth!) says:

    Touch can be healing and very beautiful, as proved with the growing popularity of massage therapy and reiki. When I have had some scary moments in hospital I have asked the nurses for a hug. I don’t want to get them into trouble, but that is what I want and need. If someone is uncomfortable with this, just a hand on my hand or shoulder means everything. We don’t communicate by words alone.

  7. It is more common on the other side of The Pond, Healing Touch (HT) is an energy therapy where the therapist uses their hands to promote health and healing. HT utilises uses only light or near-body touch to influence the energy field that penetrates and surrounds the body. Many types of energy medicine employ such techniques to influence these fields by applying light or near-body touch on the body or by placing the hands in or through the field. Qigong is just one example.

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