The Power of Human Touch
Written by Angela, 1st September 2021
In a world saturated with digital media and technology, human touch is diminishing. Non-sexual human touch has become rare, if not obsolete in our world today.
When the pandemic hit, touch was seen to be something to be fearful about, and understandably so. But the fact is, we need human touch not only to survive but to thrive.
Touch is a signal of trust and safety and the warmth of human touch calms cardiovascular stress, as well as delivering a host of other therapeutic benefits.
Physical touch may also reduce disease due its effect on the immune system. Studies have shown that briefly touching a patients arm whilst administering medication can improve the effectiveness of a drug, and a simple pat on the back from a doctor can help boost survival rates of patients.
How powerful is that!
Why does human touch feel so good?
Caring human touch is therapeutic and beneficial, but why is it so enjoyable? Why does it feel so good?
Touch releases a chemical in the body called oxytocin and one of the effects of oxytocin is to reduce the stress hormone cortisol, thereby making us feel more relaxed.
It also causes the release of two neurotransmitters called dopamine and serotonin which help to regulate your mood and relieve anxiety and stress.
It also soothes the sensory nerve endings in our skin and gives us a feeling of wellbeing.
For generations many cultures have explored and understood the power of touch to treat, soothe and heal. Today the scientific community acknowledge the power of touch for its healing and therapeutic benefits too.
Studies have shown that being touched can help to lessen pain, improve pulmonary (lung) function, boost immune system function and lower blood glucose.
Touch Therapy may sound like some weird and wacky ‘new age’ treatment, but basically it
refers to any treatment where touch is involved and benefit is gained from that touch.
Essential Self- care
More discoveries are being made about the power of touch and the healing power of touch – both physically and mentally, so it is certainly something to consider in your essential self care routine.
One of the things that we found when we returned to work in April, after the lifting of lockdown, was just how grateful clients were not only to be ‘tidied up’ or ‘beautified’ but to be touched.
Even if it was just a simple application of hand cream during a manicure, a brief head massage during a tinting service or the application of pressure and a cool gel after a hair removal treatment; touch was a very welcomed part of their experience with us.
As Michelangelo said, ‘A touch can be to give life’ and we certainly felt that we were giving a new lease of life to many people as they came flooding back through our doors during the Spring and Summer months.
The Healing Touch of Massage
Whilst the majority of our treatments we deliver at Sensoria include elements of human touch, massage has to be the ultimate Touch Therapy.
All our practitioners are qualified professionals in delivering massage treatments, but as with a finger print each practitioner has their own particular style of working.
Sometimes, your body may want a lighter, soothing touch to help you relax, chill and unwind.
In which case our Therapist Charlotte is your choice. Her calm, caring attitude and proficient massage movements are making her a firm favourite with many of our regular clients who prefer lighter massage.
At the other end of the spectrum, if you want a deeper massage to get right into your muscles and connective tissues, Antonio would be the best selection.
His strength and formidable thumbs seek out knots and tension that you may not even know you had!
All our other massage Therapists sit somewhere in between this range of strength!
What should I have massage for?
Clients choose massage for a whole host of reasons.
But here are some reasons why you may choose a massage.
If you workout regularly a post workout massage can dramatically reduce post-workout muscle inflammation and fatigue, saving you a lot of discomfort and stiffness. It can help your muscles to recover and boost your fitness results.
Having trouble sleeping? Massage can help you to sleep because it directly affect the body’s production of serotonin, which is essential for the production of melatonin – the hormone which lets you body know when it’s time to wake up and sleep.
Massage can help with pain. If you have aches and pains massage can often be of benefit. Note: always get undiagnosed pain checked out to see if massage is the right path for you.
Stress can be reduced through massage by reducing cortisol levels and the increase in warm
blood flowing through the muscles gives a feeling of warmth and relaxation giving a boost of relaxation.
Depression is also helped by massage due to the increased levels of feel good hormones known as endorphins.
Some ‘me -time’. Just to get away from it all and have some time out is often a reason why clients select a massage.
If you are trying to lose weight massage will help by reducing the level of cortisol coursing around your body. Cortisol is known to lay fat down around your mid-section.
Decreased mobility. During a massage, muscle temperature increases due to an increase in blood flow. When muscle temperature increases, the elasticity and flexibility of tissues increase and muscles are able to loosen and stretch. Combined with passive and active stretching exercises massage plays a role in improving joint mobility.
Massage for pain relief
How does massage help to decrease pain? Receptors in the muscles and skin detect that something isn’ right. This could be due to injury or just muscle overuse. The receptors and nerves send a signal to the brain and creates the perception of pain.
Massage soothes and confuses the sensory nerve endings due to the friction it creates on the skin. This new ‘touch’ sensation is picked up by the receptors in the skin, disturbing the original signals sent to the brain. The new message encouraging relaxation and decreased pain is sent to replace the original message. Disturbing the signal sent to the brain therefore reduces pain.
The friction created during massage also increases blood flow to the tissues. Due to an increase in blood flow there is an increase in oxygen and nutrients which are needed for the repair of damaged muscle fibres. Increasing blood flow therefore increases the rate of healing helping to reduce pain.
Massage helps to decrease excess tension. Tension is where muscles are unable to relax and stay in the state of contraction. Tension can cause ‘knots’ to form and muscle tightness to increase, further increasing feelings of chronic pain. By reducing the tension the pain cycle is interrupted and greatly diminished.
Free Touch Therapy services
If you have one of our Treatcards you can experience a range of touch therapy services for free!
Every time you visit or buy a product from us, points are collected on your card.
These points add up to complimentary services that you can enjoy at no cost to yourself.
The only thing that we ask is that you take your Treatcard service with another paid service at the same time, as free treatments are a lot for us to absorb financially as a small business – especially after the recent series of lockdowns!
How often should I have massage?
Over the many years that we have been delivering massages at Sensoria we understand that not everyone is the same.
A course of massage treatment is tailored to suit you, your lifestyle, your medical history, how much time you can spare and what your goals are.
In general, massages should be carried out at least once a month and as frequently as twice a week if you are experiencing chronic pain.
As a general ‘rule of thumb’ most of our clients either have a weekly, fortnightly or monthly massage.
Massage in Cheshire
One of the reasons our clients chose us for massage is not only because we have superb massage therapists, or heated massage beds but because we have very easy and free parking.
Who wants to trek a long way back to their car after a great massage?
Stretching to support massage therapy
Quite often, stretching is a great way to enhance the benefits of massage and speed up results.
However, do speak to your medical practitioner if you are unsure if stretching exercises are suitable for you.
Following massage, the muscles are warm and more pliable so it’s a great time to carry out stretches.
We particularly like some of the yoga stretches.
There are lots of really good yoga teachers in Cheshire, but if you have difficulty getting to a class or want to supplement your classes with something extra give Sarah Beth Yoga a try on You Tube.
I have worked my way through quite a few of her classes now! Most of them are free.
Check her classes out here
Buy a massage voucher
What better way to treat a friend or someone you love than with a massage voucher? You can buy gift vouchers online from us or collect one from the salon
Originally published September 1, 2021