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The following article was published in Your Health Magazine. Our mission is to empower people to live healthier.
Sharon Fussell, LMT, SRT
Massage and the Effects Of Touch
Solace Clinical Massage, LLC

Massage and the Effects Of Touch

Massage – just the word itself- elicits relaxation and reduction of stress. Some people think massage is an experience only for the rich and famous, a luxury that is not attainable for the average person, but average people around the world have used massage to care for each other since the beginning of time.

Mothers instinctively use massage when caring for their children by cuddling, hugging, rocking and stroking to soothe them. What is it that leads us to believe that an anxious or stressed child needs to be held but an anxious and stressed adult needs medication?

In his book “Job’s Body”, Dean Juan reminds us that touch is the mother of all senses. In the womb, it develops in the sixth week of gestation, when the fetus is only one inch long. The skin is sometimes referred to as the outer brain because skin tissue and brain tissue are developed from the same germ layer.

This layer is known as the ectoderm and it develops into skin tissue and nervous tissue. Since the brain and skin come from the same layer in initial development, they are almost extensions of one another.

Dean Juan reminds us, “Depending on how you look at it the skin is the outer surface of the brain or the brain is the deepest layer of the skin. The skin is no more separated from the brain than the surface of a lake is separate from its depths; the two are different in locations in a continuous medium. To touch the surface is to stir the depths.”

Touch, or tactile perception, is considered one of the five traditional senses. The impression of touch is formed from several modalities including pressure, skin stretch, and vibration. There is no other sense that gives us so much of the world. You can be blindfolded, wear earplugs, and nose plugs and you will compensate for these, but to block the tactile sensation produces a profound and unresolvable disorientation that can possibly lead to psychosis.

Yes, we know that massage can relieve stress. We have studies proving that massage enhances math computation speed and accuracy. That’s right. We know it releases endorphins and other feel-good hormones. The positive effects of massage are too numerous to address in this brief article, but amongst all these benefits, let’s not forget that human touch is powerful in its own right. We cannot live

without it.

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