Hands Are Needed
In my 7 years as a Physician Assistant, compassionate touch with presence was the most powerful promoter of healing that I witnessed.
According to Merriam-Webster, touch is:
- to bring a bodily part into contact with especially so as to perceive through the tactile sense;
- “to relate to; to have an influence on”
- “to move to sympathetic feeling”
Physical touch is the easiest to "see" in the literal sense of the word. However, we can also “touch” someone emotionally through relating or sympathizing with his or her feelings. Most of us have been there as a patient or a provider. The sick patient feeling depressed about an extended hospital stay. Or, perhaps the anxious family member who needs their concerns “heard". The hardest to "see" is metaphysical touch; this is touching the human soul. How is this possible? This is "touch" through intention; for example, approaching someone with the intention of compassion is very, very powerful. The human body is intelligent in it’s design; neurotransmitters pick up on the chemical vibration of compassion and send signals to the brain that promote a calmer state and more receptive state in the receiver.
Touch IS powerful. In whatever form it occurs.
It restores overall health and well being in a safe and effective manner when delivered with compassion in a safe and nurturing environment.
Touch imparts feelings of safety/security, nurturing, love, support and empowerment. It is one of the earliest forms of communication, particularly in our formative years. Is it any wonder that it promotes better health and vitality?
Scientific studies have been performed to study the power of touch. Weze et, al demonstrated that touch improved the overall psychological well being in 147 patients in their study “Healing by Gentle Touch Ameliorates Stress and Other Symptoms in People Suffering with Mental Health Disorders or Psychological Stress.”
Their conclusion: “The absence of adverse effects makes this form of treatment particularly suitable for people with chronic disorders who may have experienced problems with pharmacotherapy”(p122).
Article Citation: Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Volume 4 (2007), Issue 1, Pages 115-123. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ecam/nel052
We live in a world that struggles with human connection. Social media, cell phones and the internet have gradually replaced face to face contact. There are increasing amounts of anxiety, depression and chronic pain.
I invite you to reach out and touch someone today, in a safe and nurturing way. All it takes is one touch to feel seen, heard and understood. To grow humanity.