Hands of Kindness
Stephen Gaskin said “Touch is the first language we speak”. Katrina Thorpe explores the role of touch in massage therapy.
Set aside any thoughts that massage is only a feel-good way to indulge or pamper one’s self.
To the contrary, massage can be a powerful way to help you take charge of your health and wellbeing. It is more than the physical practice of touch as the benefits on our mental, emotional and physical state during a massage is quite amazing to experience.
Our body’s senses are connected so it makes sense that a massage can tap into and alter the state of how you feel, think and move. In its unconsciously simple form touch is instinctive, a natural response we show to another human that can change more than we realise.
Have you ever noticed how your emotions change when watching people greeted at an airport? Without words we watch on as loved ones arrive and connect with embraces of touch, then often comes the tears, be it happy or sad. We don’t even know these people we are watching but we feel the energy and emotion that a simple connection of touch has made.
Similarly, we can notice the indifference of greetings without touch, just a nod or smile but when the smallest of gestures of touch in an extended hand – or albeit an elbow these days – we feel the connection between two people, and we don’t even know them.
When there’s a tragedy, one of the quickest responses we offer or accept instinctively, is touch. An embrace, holding a hand or a reassuring touch on the back, arm or leg, often between complete strangers, is taken or given instinctively to calm, nurture and reassure another person.
I love to study the sense of touch, it’s something I find interesting, amazing and underestimated. Touch and the absence of it in a covid-pandemic world was concerning, knowing that taking away a basic, calming, nurturing instinct of touch would have a big impact on mental and emotional wellness.
Being in the wellness business, I know the importance of providing kindness through our hands, thoughts and intent, and this has been a main focus in a post-lockdown world. Providing spa treatments geared towards nurturing and managing stress with great consideration to emotional needs is exactly what our guests need, now more than ever before.
Massage is a therapy used for many reasons, but it works on all our senses at the same time. While it is the physical action of touching another person’s body, a massage therapist has the intention to help the person they are touching, and this is one of the most important factors in contributing to a ‘good’ massage because as humans we need and feel connections of energy.
Massage styles are numerous and varied and research has found that having a massage can do more for you than just offer relaxation and reduce muscle tension. The connection between our physical, mental and emotional body are synchronised to support each other.
People are becoming more educated with regards to massage treatment styles and the benefits of increased frequency and length as well as the general benefits a massage can offer.
Understanding that a slow, soothing massage is more suited for de-stressing and deep relaxation to address emotional and mental fatigue; while a deep tissue, sports massage is something you need on a regular basis from a therapist who’s specialised to work with your body for rehabilitation.
Just as massage helps our bodies to release and detoxify, it can also move energy and emotional and mental blocks to balance the body for an uninterrupted flow and sense of wellbeing.
There are many styles of massage so if you don’t understand what to book for your needs, read the information provided by your therapist and ask questions and give information about your health and wellness concerns at time of booking.
Be open-minded to trying a different style of massage as you may find it is the key to improved wellness for you. Often your therapist will recommend the style they think is best for you.
Relax, you are in good hands.