Touch is the Key
Touch is our mother tongue, the original and only language of the body. As mammals we rely on skin contact and warmth to awaken our digestive, circulatory, and nervous systems. Kittens not licked or caressed at birth, die. Gentle touch stimulates the hormone thymopoeitin, which nurtures the budding immune system into readiness, and helps us be safe in the world as separate beings. In his groundbreaking book, Touching: The Human Significance of the Skin, Ashley Montagu says: “The communications we transmit through touch constitute the most powerful means of establishing human relationships, the foundation of experience.”
The intimate connection between the “mind” and the “body” too often goes unrecognized by psychotherapists and bodyworkers. When the mind is seen as some disembodied entity with its own independent imbalances, and the body as merely physical, the essential wholeness of a person gets ignored, and fractionalized treatment can be ineffective, and even make things worse.
The latest findings of psychoneuroimmunology help to bridge the mind/body gap. The discovery of the vast inner neuropeptide network, that contains and relays our emotions, inner images, and even beliefs, lays the common ground for doctors, bodyworkers, and psychotherapists to collaborate and formulate a new holistic approach and language to healing. Deep feelings held in the body outside of conscious awareness are the lock. Touch is the key.
Touch is emotional. Although bodyworkers primarily focus on the treatment of the soft tissue of the body, they are in fact treating the whole person, and often encounter an expression of emotion and/or memories triggered by touch. The science of psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) investigates the mind/body link and offers a model that bridges the connection. Holistic treatment calls for the bodyworker to be familiar with the concepts of PNI to help understand the emotional component of his or her work in order to better facilitate positive changes that last over time.