The Science of Touch and Massage

touch and massage
Lets talk about touch. For my entire career I have to deal with the “touchy feely” perceptions commonly held about us massage therapists. But, c’mon, is that really fair? It is literally ALL. WE. DO.

(Sidebar- I actually get frustrated with the stereotypical “touchy feely” massage therapists who talk about chakras and energy (yes, real, but…) without using the science behind such things for credibility, and… but that is an entirely different subject. Possibly for future blogging – or, if you see me, just ask, I love talking about it)

Onward! Touch is the silent language of connection. It is a bridge between two separate bodies, it is the vehicle of transmission. What is contained in the invisible transmission of touch is hugely diverse. Some intentional (a massage because your back hurts), some accidental (I sneezed, shook a hand, and gave someone a cold). As a language, it has to the ability to transmit both conscious and unconscious information from one person to another without having to be translated by the rational mind. Touch can have mixed messages (caring, impatience, neediness, fear). In the hands of a skillful massage therapist, touch has a “listening” capacity.

Another aspect of our sense of touch is, that when honed, it can be an access point to “hearing” with our hands. In my own experience, its as if my hands and fingers “listen to my clients bodies” as I’m working, and send a signal to my brain when there is something to pay attention to (not the other way around – y’know the way it biologically works). It is touch that enables me to decode what is going on with my client. Kind of like solving a puzzle.

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