The Magic of Touch

A hug can be the best medicine when we're feeling down or lonely. Stroking a pet brings joy to the heart and a smile to the face. We intuitively clasp a hand to our forehead in times of stress, and the desire to reach out and cuddle a crying infant is an inbuilt human response. No other form of connection is as powerful and universal as touch.

Since 1982, the Touch Research Institute in Miami, Florida has been devoted to better defining touch as it promotes health and contributes to the treatment of disease. These, and studies by other bodies worldwide, consistently show that touch therapy has numerous beneficial effects on the health and wellbeing of all humans.

There is something almost indefinable that happens when one sentient being touches another: an energetic connection that cannot be replicated by machines or massage tools. An electronic shiatsu chair may feel good and provide some relief to sore muscles, but receiving a treatment from a trained bodyworker offers something a non-human tool can't provide. More than simply working out a physical tension, a therapist trained in touch therapies (massage, shiatsu, rolfing), is also initiating a connection with the less-definable aspects of ourselves.

Whether we call it soul, spirit or energy, it adds another dimension to the physical act of touch, opening a doorway to healing that goes beyond the mere alleviation of symptoms. This level of healing not only releases muscular tension, but also nurtures the soul, and provides solace at mental and emotional levels. Touch is a language we use instinctively, and is the first of all the senses to develop. In our society, being deprived of contact with our fellow human beings by being placed in solitary confinement, is one of the worst punishments. Touch means contact and reminds us we are not alone.

Both the giving and receiving of touch is as essential to human survival as food or water. When we are without adequate human touch, our quality of life rapidly diminishes. We become susceptible to depression and illness, and our ability to thrive under stress is severely diminished. There are times in our lives when we may lack touch on a daily basis: following a divorce, when away from friends and loved ones for extended periods, in later life. At these times, turning to the services of a professional bodyworker can help to bring us back into contact with touch and ultimately, with ourselves.

Jyoti Rawlinson is a Sedona Massage Therapist who has over 20 years experience with the magic of touch. She graduated from the renowned Osho International Academy of Healing Arts in Pune, India,  holds certification from the Arizona School of Integrative Studies, and is a Teaching Assistant for Donna Eden's Energy Medicine Introductory Trainings. Visit her website at to find out how professional touch therapies can benefit you.

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