Touch in these troubling times

We've had a busy month over here at Touch Advocates. An article that we poured our souls into was just published in the March/April issue of Massage & Bodywork magazine. "Touch Matters: The Importance of Attuned and Compassionate Touch" lays out how vital touch is at every stage of life, and how dangerous the current dearth of touch in our society is. We present effective ways to bring touch safely back into our communities, our schools, and healthcare system.

Kate also facilitated a conversation at the Wisdom 2.0 conference! Her topic, “increasing connection through skillful and compassionate touch,” drew a passionate group. One participant, who had been incarcerated for a time, reminded the group that touch is a love language, and when we are isolated self touch can be essential to surviving and subsequently thriving. Another, who practices 5 Rhythms Dance, noted that we can and do touch without physical contact. Indeed, we can feel the presence of those around us even at several feet of distance, and meeting eyes can create a profound sense of connection. We are all confronted now with social isolation and limiting our touch in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. It may seem that, to be safe, we should always limit physical contact! We remind ourselves of the vital role touch has for our mental and emotional well being, and also for the functioning of our immune systems. Stress is a major immunosuppressant, and caring touch is one of the most effective ways we human beings have to reduce our stress. Yes, social distancing is an effective way to limit the spread of illness. We recommend that we infuse the touch we *do* have, even if it's mundane, with connection and love. This will help us reap the benefits of even the most limited touch. And for those of us who are in quarantine, self touch is an effective immune- and mood-booster! Wear soft clothing that feels good to touch. Use heavy blankets to give the body’s touch receptors comforting input. Put on lotion slowly, with kindness and attention to sensation. Giving ourselves hugs, hand and foot rubs, and using foam rollers and yoga balls all give our nervous system the signal to calm. We wish you all well, in mind body and spirit.

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Kate Mackinnon & Robyn Scherr | Touch ADVOCATES | Headquartered in the SAN FRANCSICO Bay Area

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