The Healing Power of Touch
THE CHRONIC PAIN CYCLE
Pain affects your life. Your sleep, mood, activity, and energy level are all disrupted by pain. Being tired, depressed, and out of shape makes the pain worse and harder to cope with. So a “pain cycle” begins.The pain cycle is a complex chain of events which reinforce each other and can lead from one to the next in a continuous loop. It often begins with injury or illness, but each element, especially stress, can add to or even start the cycle.
NATURAL PAIN RELIEVERS
Release your inner endorphins and break the cycle of pain. These natural chemicals block pain signals from reaching your brain. Endorphins are the body’s natural pain relievers, and they can be as strong as many of the strongest pain relievers. Endorphins also help alleviate anxiety, stress and depression — conditions that often accompany and exacerbate chronic pain.
THE IMPORTANCE OF TOUCH
Touch acts on the nervous system to counteract the stress response, relaxing muscle tension and allowing heart rate, blood pressure and circulation to return toward normal. Touch helps the body heal and renews emotional reserves. To the extent that touch interrupts the pain cycle, even temporarily, it reduces stress by giving a person some control over his or her situation.
Touch also helps you become aware of unconsciously held tension and how it feels to relax. This helps you recognize and release tension before it creates a problem. Finally allowing someone else to give you the care and comfort of nurturing touch can give you much needed emotional support in a time of stress.
When it comes to speaking out for the clinical importance of touch, Deepak Chopra, M.D. has few peers. As he talks about how rich in hormones and biologically active the skin is, he explains that, “when we stimulate the skin, we can cause, literally, a shower of healing chemicals into our blood stream.”
In Molecules of Emotion, Dr. Pert details how her neurochemistry research and a host of other events led her to the realization that “our emotions and our biochemistry are part of one continuous information loop that accounts for how we feel and how mind-body medicine works.”
You perceive pain when your body releases chemicals that stimulate nerves to send out pain messages to the brain. These are difficult – and dangerous – to ignore. Always look for and seek to treat the root cause of your pain. Research suggests that touch stimulates release of natural pain relievers such as endorphins. Touch can also reduce the grip of pain as you focus on the pleasant sensation of relaxation. Data indicates that touch promotes relaxation, alleviates the perception of pain and anxiety in patients and decreases pain intensity. The effectiveness of touch lies in a simple and direct strategy: working from the external, outer mechanisms of pain to the primary, root cause.
People employing caring, nurturing touch for pain management utilize a holistic approach, focusing on the entire body system and its relationship to soft tissue. Their care isn’t focused only on the site of pain.
Touch not only helps relieve muscle and other soft tissue pain, but also has an impact on the recipient by virtue of healthy, caring human touch. This is especially pronounced for women facing mastectomies and dealing with the outcomes of that surgery. Caring touch helps them feel comfortable once again with their bodies.
One touch can soothe, comfort and convey caring in a way words never can. Touching has the power to heal, connect us, and ease pain. It also lessens anxiety and softens the blows of life. The simple act of touching is so powerful that it can slow your heart rate, decrease your blood pressure, and strengthen your immune system.
The healing power of touch will help restore balance and flow to your body, mind and spirit on every level.
A “Pain Management Online Continuing Education Course” is offered by Ariana Institute.
Ariana Vincent, LMT, MTI, NCTMB, is approved as a Continuing Education Provider and Massage Therapy Instructor throughout the United States and by The Texas Department of State Health Services, Massage Therapy Division and The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. Ariana has been a Licensed Massage Therapist for 31 years. She has been a Massage Therapy Instructor and a Continuing Education Provider for 13 years. As a Certified Massage Therapy Instructor and Continuing Education Provider, Ariana offers a wide variety of continuing education classes, seminars and workshops to provide relevant, substantive information regarding massage therapy. Learn more about Ariana at her personal website HERE.