Years ago, when I worked as a massage therapist I came to realize that people love to be touched. However, many people don’t touch each other. As I would be massaging someone, I would get images in my mind, sometimes people would burst into tears and I could feel their emotional pain. Massage taught me many things such as; touch is massive, the importance of boundaries, and in my case, it opened a door to my intuitive gifts. I started to watch people and noticed that we are a touched deprived society and people suffer because it disconnects us from one another.
We communicate with each other by talking, however, there are other ways to communicate and touching is a nonverbal communication. Touching is a profound way to communicate and interact with each other all throughout our life. This is especially true at the beginning and end of life, and when someone is grieving.
Touch releases oxytocin which is also called the cuddle hormone and it helps to nurture feel-ings of trust and of connection. A mother’s touch enhances attachment between the mother and child and it signifies to the baby that they are SAFE and PROTECTED. I would also say that this is true for someone who is at the end of their life too. This can be a scary time and one can feel isolated and alone. Being touched will help them to feel SAFE and can help calm their anxiety at this scary time.
Some benefits of touch are:
– reduced cortisol which is the stress hormone
– lowers the heart rate
– better sleep
– reduced irritability
– increases sociability among infants
– improves growth in preemies
In many hospitals there will be volunteers who come to hold and cuddle sick children and preemies. Hospitals are sterile environments and touching the wee ones helps calm them and supports them to feel safe.
People love to hold and touch babies but many people at the end of life are touch deprived because the hospital staff does not have the time or resources to spend with the patient and many family members are nervous to touch them for fear of hurting them. However, this doesn’t need to be the case.
Always ask permission to touch someone, most of the time they will say yes. As people come to the end of their life, they are frail and their skin is thin, so one must be careful how they touch them. You can gently massage their hands and feet with an unscented lotion or carrier oil (coconut, grapeseed, or apricot). Go slowly, very slowly using light pressure. You can even just stroke the hands and feet. Holding someone’s hand connects you with the person and will bring them comfort.
It’s important to remember to wipe their hands after the massage so that don’t rub the lotion or carrier oil onto their eyes. And you don’t want babies putting their hands into their mouth.
For someone at the end of life, wipe their feet or put slippers on because you don’t want them to slip when they get up.
Words aren’t always necessary and often they get in the way. Touch is such a simple way to show how much you care and love them.
Did you like this blog article? Leave me a comment below and let me know how this has helped you. To go deeper with this particular topic, listen to my radio interview on All Business Media FM.