When you go to see a reiki practioner you will often find they fall into two different school of practice: Those that touch the physical body while administering the healing, and those that hover their hands above the body and don’t touch. Me? I touch. I was trained to touch the body and also train my students to touch the body. I respect every practioner right to work in their own unique way but personally believe by not touching the body you end up missing out on a huge component that makes hands-on healing so powerful.
Touch is a vital human need, alongside food, water and shelter. There is a huge growing bank of scientific research that supports this; in fact there is a “Touch Research Institute” at the University of Miami School of Medicine specifically created to research the effects. Human touch is such a simple natural thing, however often gets forgotten as something that holds enormous physical, emotional and mental benefits.
Unfortunately our society has sexualized touch so much that now it is very much limited to either a sexual relationship, familial relations like parents cuddling children and brief hugs or handshakes between friends and acquaintances. Teachers are not allowed to touch their students; physical affection seems to be disappearing more and more as everyone has become very “touch taboo”.
I understand that many of the rules implemented in schools have been to protect children from sexual predators, but has it gone too far? Are we now depriving children or being physically soothed with a hug, or experiencing a kind hand on their back when they are upset? Or subliminally teaching them that hugging and physical contact is wrong? Since these laws and restrictions have come in there has been no change in child abuse statistics, so it does make you question the other negative flow on effects these generations of children may face as they mature.
When a client comes to see me for an in-person soul medicine session often I will lay them on a massage table (fully clothed) and administer reiki by laying my hands on different areas of their body from the top of their head all the way down to the soles of their feet for an extended length of time at each position. Many clients report that they feel an almost instant sense of peace and calm the moment my hands are placed on them.
What I have witnessed over the years that by physically touching people in the safe, theraputic space of reiki that it encourages them to move their awareness away from their over-thinking, over-stimulated minds and re-connect to their physical body. It’s like an instant meditation state. They become hyper aware of different sensations and feelings in the body which allows them to shift any blocked or repressed emotions, the monkey mind slows down, they relax their muscles and let go of tension, often they gain insights into challenges that have been bothering them, have profound insights and they experience an incredibly deep state of relaxation many of them haven’t known for a really long time.
Touch stimulates blood flow to the particular area of the body that is being touched. Increased blood circulation helps to bring oxygen into vital organs and extremities, which can leave people feeling more vital and replenished. It helps with cellular repair, boosting the immune system, cardiovascular health, digestion and more. Touch encourages the brain to release all those delicious, feel good soothing chemicals like Oxytocin, Serotonin, Neuropeptides and more in a healthy, non-evasive way. Who doesn’t want more of that? Yum!
Often we will wait to experience touch when we are in a relationship or around family or friends that can offer us that affection. However, you don’t have to. Using personal touch in a gentle, nurturing manner can have all the same effects and benefits as above. I recently experienced a Dancing Eros course and one of the biggest take a way’s from the course was a reminder of the power of touch and how I don’t have to wait for another person to give that to me, I can give that to myself, whenever I want!
How can I integrate more touch into my life?
1. Start to hug yourself.
Yes, I am serious. Hug yourself like your hugging an old friend you haven’t seen in ages. Take a moment to really be with yourself in a moment of affection and intimacy.
2. Explore touching your body in a non-sexual way.
Gentle stroking, holding, squeezing. Focus on the areas you know you carry a lot of tension but also pay attention to areas of your body that you may hold negative judgment towards.
3. Massage yourself with a beautiful oil or cream.
You can just use your hands & fingers or also explore using a massager, tennis ball or foam roller. I have recently discovered ostrich feathers and find them a beautiful, sensual and soft way of touching the body.
4. Start a dry body-brushing practice.
Not only does this allow you to use touch it is also fantastic for removing dead skin cells and stimulating lymph movement.
5. Give yourself a self-healing using touch.
Can you do that? Yes you can, I have made a specific guided “Self-Healing Practice” teaching people how to do exactly that and the process includes using physical touch. You can purchase that here.
6. Book in and have an in-person reiki session.
You might want check before hand and make sure the practioner uses touch healing as part of their practice if you are specifically wanting to experience the benefits of touch! If you are based in Melbourne, come see me, you can book here.
7. Book in and see a masseuse, body-worker or any practioner that uses touch as part of their healing toolbox.
8. Cuddle on the couch with a loved one (or pet!) you trust and feel at ease with.
9. Get a pedicure or manicure
10. Get a facial or give yourself one.
Hot Tip: You can find a great DIY facial video by Vegiehead using natural products that you have in your kitchen here and her blog here is chockablock full of tips on skin self-care.
11. Start holding your hugs longer when you hug a friend or family member.
One of my best friends Mel is an amazing hugger and she has really taught me the art of holding a hug for a decent amount of time to make sure you get a good dose of the happy, feel good chemicals flowing!
12. Learn Reiki.
Reiki isn’t just for people wanting to become healing practioners, it’s a beautiful tool for anyone. In the Level 1 training you learn how to do self-healing and healing for your family, friends and pets. If your wanting to integrate touch remember to ask the teacher before booking and check that touching is part of their methodology!