Letters of Embodiment - June 2021
Do you ever wonder why physical touch is so important?
We obviously love touch here at TeaScape. We do it every day as our chosen profession. Physical touch is its own language. The difference in conversation is apparent in hugging your grandma vs. shaking hands with a stranger vs. petting your pup. Infants and children actually develop slower when they are touch-deprived. Americans in general are a bit more weary of physical contact when compared to our European friends, and I want to talk about what that means within our nervous systems.
Humans are wired to be tactile and to feel our environment first hand. Touch expresses love and bonds us together. Touch tells us we are accepted. Platonic love, romantic love, comradery, support, comfort, and protection can all be shown through touch without a single word spoken.
With the invention of smart phones, and especially within this last year of social-distancing, we have all been a little more touch-deprived. When we do receive touch, specifically massage, we stimulate our Vagal activity. The Vagus nerve is one of twelve cranial nerves whose branches are found all over the body from the heart to the gastrointestinal tract to your vocal chords. When the Vagus nerve is stimulated, we see a decrease in cortisol (a stress hormone) as well as an increase in serotonin (an anti-depressant and anti-pain chemical). It's a main player in theories about somatic approaches to bettering mental health.
Even giving yourself mindful touch can have serious health benefits. Self-hugs increase self-compassion and improve overall well-being. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) Tapping is so underrated for moving through anxious moments and redirecting your energy back to the present moment through gently tapping the meridian lines of body with your fingertips.
Whether it's with another person or just with yourself, physical touch should be a priority in maintaining a holistic health perspective. It is simple, free, and proven to alleviate toxic stress. What is your relationship to touch? Where can you increase the amount of healthy touch in your life? What barriers or blocks do you have when it comes to touch?
Thank you for meditating on the month with us!
See you in July!