The Power of Touch in the midst of a Pandemic
With the lack of physical connection and touch allowed at the moment, I think hands on therapy is needed more than ever. When clients returned to me after lockdown, some hadn’t been touched or hugged by another person in over 3 months, that has a big impact mentally which in turn causes physical symptoms. As humans we are social animals who evolved to connect with each other and succeed within tribes, we connect through real life eye contact, observing body language, tone of voice and through touch, which is hard to do through a zoom screen.
What I have observed through my treatments recently is we are all carrying high or low levels of anxiety, whether we realise it or not. A lot of people are having crazy dreams in which are our worries come up at night even if we feel calm during the day. Anxiety arises from not knowing what will happen or not being able to control a situation, which is pretty much the current situation worldwide.
Anxiety produces stress hormones in the body which prime the body to ‘Fight or Flight’ these literally pump up our muscle fibres so we are ready to run away from a physical threat or to fight it. They also speed up our heart rate and switch off functions not needed such as our digestion and some cognitive thinking skills. The brain sees all stress as life threating physical danger, it doesn’t recognise the difference between physical and mental stress.
Mammals in the wild after being chased by a predator, shake to reset their nervous system by releasing the taught muscle fibres and rest to recover from the exertion. Humans don’t do this and we have many stressors throughout each day because of our responsibilities and endless thoughts. By releasing the tension in the muscles and soft tissue, we reset the nervous system back to its restful state. This can be achieved through massage therapy and maintained through regular movement and stretching.