A Simple Touch Can Do Wonders
Drop the technology and connect
STORY BY: LESLIE RESCHLY, BSN, RN Years ago, before the internet, a popular advertising slogan professed, “Reach Out and Touch Someone”. Ironically, the slogan for Bell Telephone could still be utilized today as we connect often only via email, text messaging and social media and rarely through physical touch. Physical touch is powerful. In infancy, it is the first sense to develop as a parent cuddles and caresses their newborn in their arms; often taking a picture of the first wrap of that tiny fist around their finger.
In aging, it is often longed for as partners pass and society mores restrict the use of touch except among close friends. Frequently associated with love and romance, touch can also be used to promote feelings of calmness and acceptance not associated with sexuality. Have you experienced a time when the touch of another’s hand provided reassurance and decreased your anxiety level? Touch done with compassionate intent and caring can promote a symbiotic exchange between friends and even strangers in this game of life.
Healing Touch was developed by Janet Mentgen in 1989. This use of energy therapy relies on ancient Asian medicine principles tested over the past thousand years in fields such as acupuncture. The overall philosophy for energy therapy is the idea that the human body is composed of energy fields interacting within the body and between the body and it’s environment. Energy flows through the body along meridians or energy channels through chakras or energy centers located in specific areas of the human body.
Healing Touch utilizes a practitioner with heart-centered, intentional use of hands to move energy to allow balance for homeostasis and encourage the body to support it’s own healing. Similar examples of touch and energy-work modalities include Qigong, Reiki and Therapeutic Touch. Diana Johnson-Burton is a local healing arts practitioner of Healing Touch. Nationally certified as Level 3 practitioner for this type of Energy Work, she is also an active member of the Healing Touch Association.
Unlike traditional massage, Healing Touch is non-invasive and although you may be on a massage table, you are typically fully clothed with minimal physical touching by the therapist. Instead, hands are hovered over or lightly touch the body to assess energy fields then “move” the field believed to be stagnant or blocked thus providing balance to support the body’s own wisdom of healing.
Diana uses the following words to describe the process and overall result: grounded, clear, intuitive and spiritual, integration of body/mind/spirit, deep relaxation. Although searches for statistical medical scientific research yield few results since effects of Healing Touch cannot be measured quantitatively. Qualitative studies report that recipients of Healing Touch describe a deep feeling of calm and relaxation leading to decreased heart rate, decreased blood pressure, slowing of breathing and relief of stressful feelings. Healing Touch can be helpful to alleviate anxiety and decrease pain before and after surgery as well as during chemotherapy or other painful medical procedures.
In addition, Healing Touch is often used with chronic pain, headaches and migraines, generalized anxiety, sleep disturbance, emotional stress, fibromyalgia and burns. The ultimate goal of Healing Touch is to facilitate and support the body so that it can integrate with the mind and soul to promote health and healing. In fact, it is believed that Healing Touch may promote a healthier future by preventing illnesses that are caused by a longstanding energy imbalance. While you may not be trained in Healing Touch, in the spirit of this Love Issue, I asked Diana for touch suggestions. With an infectious smile and bright eyes, she began to share very simplistic ways to connect through touch. You may consider holding hands while walking or while sitting on the couch together. Offer a hand massage or shoulder massage. Hugs are especially strong ways of connecting and showing the intention of sending love and healing.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, consider offering your spouse, friend or child a foot massage complete with a foot soak, oil and massage. You do not have to be an expert or trained to get a positive effect from this touch. Your laying on of hands communicates caring while joined with your intention to connect, promotes wellness in your loved one.
Diana Johnson-Burton is also a certified yoga instructor and certified massage therapist. She is trained in prenatal massage as well! Please see her contact information attached to this article. In addition, she will be offering a women’s Healing Circle locally starting in February to “provide a positive safe place to join” exploring a setting of healing intentions, calming breath work, vision board and energy work as requested by the participants.
Please contact her for further information. In the meantime, Reach Out and Touch Someone! Diana Johnson-Burton Phone: 540-846-2418