Touch. A very simple word with unbelievable power. In fact, the word “touch” is defined at length in Webster’s dictionary in efforts to capture all the direct, as well as subtle, meanings conjured by the word. To this author, the effort alone to define this word is an indication of the power touch has in our everyday life.
When first becoming a massage therapist, it was really all about the facts; muscles, tendons, origins, insertions, and actions. After 13 years, I am keenly aware of the value of touch and how purpose and intent play such a huge role in how it is delivered, received and its effectiveness.
According to Gerard J. Tortora, author of the “Principles of Anatomy and Physiology”, our bodies have 11 distinguishable organ systems (Integumentary (skin and hair), Muscular, Skeletal, Nervous, Circulatory, Lymphatic, Respiratory, Endocrine, Urinary/excretory, Reproductive, Digestive).
According to world renowned Energy healer Donna Eden, our bodies operate on 9 different energy systems (Meridians, Chakras, Aura, Basic Grid, Celtic Weave, Five Rhythms, Triple Warmer, Radiant Circuits, The Electrics).
This might sound like a jumbled mess of terms and may not mean much in the mere listing, but think for a moment what this fantastic, somewhat confusing, list of terms means within the concept of “touch”.
Every cell in the body is electrically charged. They participate in millions of tiny electrical impulses which travel through our entire body via the nervous system governing every activity. Our nervous system connects every fiber of our physical being.
Together with the Hypothalamus and a few foundational chemical building blocks, we are knitted and woven together by our nervous system providing mobility, regulation, sensation, and thought. By these electrical impulses we communicate concepts, emotion, and healing that can seem to defy all logic.
Science tells us that all matter is made up of protons, neutrons, and electrons (subatomic particles). These particles make up atoms and are responsible for what we call energy. Protons (positively charged) and neutrons (neutral) are encased together within what is called a nucleus.
Electrons (negatively charged) orbit around the nucleus at high speeds. According to the theory of Quantum Physics (the study of atomic and subatomic particles) solid matter does not exist in the universe because the only thing that exists between theses subatomic particles is space.
Since all things are made up of these particles, all things are made of energy. The same particles that make a human being also make all the other elements of nature both animate and inanimate. Therefore, we are all connected to the universe and the things in it through the miracle that is called energy.
Two very interesting facts have emerged from Quantum Physics.
1. The Observer Effect– a perceived measurement observed during a quantum phenomenon (i.e.superconductivity) can change merely from being watched. The conclusion is that energy can be affected by consciousness or thought.
2. Entanglement – Once particles have entered each other’s space, they are forever linked no matter the distance.
Consider a study by HeartMath Institute in Boulder Creek California. Two patients were hooked up to electrodes in efforts to measure the energy (heart wave) passed from one person to another through a distance (air) as well as by touch. When placed 5 feet apart, no measurement of energy transfer could be detected on either person’s skin. When the patients held hands energy transfers could be not only measured on the surface of the skin but also in their brain waves.
To further determine how the energy was being transferred, latex gloves were placed on their hands as they touched. Energy transfer did occur but at a tenth of the original measurement. Finally, to verify whether the transfer was simply through touch or if it could be transferred through the air, the patients were placed 3 feet apart but not touching.
Energy transfer was measured on the surface of each other’s bodies proving that energy is not only transferred through physical contact but also through a distance.
Have we all not experienced an instant like or dislike for a stranger, or given a much-needed hug to someone and see their mood instantly change? Once, while in training for Oncology Massage at a hospital near Pittsburg, I was asked to visit an elderly woman who was giving the nurses a hard time. On the surface she was a true curmudgeon; surly in speech and looks.
After obtaining permission to administer massage I began to gently rub neck, shoulders, arms, legs, hands, and feet. With each stroke, her demeanor and mood changed. By session’s end, she was smiling and much more pleasant. For this woman and many others suffering from illness, physical or mental, Therapeutic Touch can
• Reduce stress hormones
• Decrease blood pressure
• Increase oxytocin levels (produces a calming effect)
• Relieve or eliminate anxiety
• Ease or eliminate pain• Improve sleep patterns
• Aid immune function
In the study above, it is clear to see that energy can be transferred both by touch and through a distance. For centuries and decades, anecdotal evidence is all we have had for proof of energy and its ability to be transferred.
But, as the science of matter and energy has advanced through the research of Newton, Planck, Einstein, Bohr, and many other more modern-day physicists, legitimacy has been added to those thousands of anecdotal accounts improving the human condition through the power of touch.