Can one hour a week of polarity therapy, massage, acupressure, therapeutic touch and/or foot reflexology lower your blood pressure, relieve depression, decrease your risk of cancer, increase energy and help you sleep better?
The answer is yes to all of the above.
Today, bodywork plays an important role in medicine, healthcare, sports, physical fitness and psychotherapy. Therapeutic touch, founded by Dolores Krieger, strongly believes that the body’s energy field becomes unbalanced during injuries and illnesses. Therefore, therapeutic touch balances and restores a person’s vital energy.
Ongoing research into touch and touch therapies has become progressive and well-established. The Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami’s School of Medicine is actively involved in research that focuses on areas such as touch for newborns, reducing pain through bodywork and lymphatic healthcare through massage. Even the United States Army funded a study that demonstrated that therapeutic touch eases pain and stress in burn patients.
A similar study on reducing anxiety and pain in cancer patients was done in our own backyard by Pauline King, who led the study at the James Cancer Hospital. The study produced positive results showing that massage reduces the level of pain and anxiety experienced during many of the invasive treatments being used for cancer. Kudos to the medical Buckeyes!
Another Columbus study, designed by researcher Sue Benford, CEO of Pro Comp Inc., set out to identify and measure “healing energy.” According to the study, energy medicine operates on the principle that health can be influenced by the subtle realignment of a person’s “vital energy”–energy that is in all living things and when blocked, creates disease. Benford, along with researchers from Ohio State University, using polarity therapy, a holistic bioenergy modality, tested many volunteers. The results suggest the importance of the self-healing mechanisms within the body; touch, which is used in polarity therapy, may provide a vehicle for introducing energy directly into the body.
Some research has even shown that the lack of touch may lead to addictive patterns. Since bodywork will stimulate the production of endorphins creating a sense of balance and well-being, the lack of touch often will increase irritability causing stress and anxiety. The concept of connecting with your body through touch may be the missing link for tobacco abuse, workaholicism and other hard-to-break habits.
In the August 1997 issue of Life magazine, the cover boldly captured the message of “The Healing Power of Touch” in large type beside a picture of a person getting bodywork. On the cover model’s shoulders, the magazine announced, “It also: reduces stress, eases back pain, fights anorexia, lifts depression and saves lives.”
Sounds too good to be true, but professional bodywork is fast becoming a part of our preventative healthcare system. Skilled practitioners are establishing solid practices and launching professional centers that make many forms of bodywork available to us all. West is finally meeting East. We are realizing what so many Europeans and Asians have realized for decades: Touch heals!
Finding the right bodywork practitioner and the type of work suited to your needs is important. We will continue with our directory of bodywork practices available.
Acupuncture: Fine needles inserted at specific points regulate and increase the flow of energy back to balance. Used for pain control.
Deep tissue bodywork: Works on connective tissue to release muscular compression and stress. Works on whiplash, low back and neck pain.
Touch for health: Balances the body’s energy by using gentle contacts on muscles and other body points. Balances overall health.
Structural integration/rolfing: Changes patterns of stress held in the body, corrects misalignment and body trauma. Deep pressure to fascia tissue.
Reiki: Light hand placements to channel healing energy. Useful for emotional, mental and physical stress.
Reflexology: Uses specific pressure points on feet and hands that correspond with organs and body tissue. Effective for stress-related illnesses.
Some options for finding well-qualified and experienced bodywork practitioners are referrals from your personal healthcare practitioners, contacting established professional centers and interviewing their practitioners, calling certified bodywork schools to get names of their graduates. Always interview your practitioner first by telephone or in person to see if there is a good connection.
Enjoy the benefit from the healing power of touch–it is a gift to yourself. When you reconnect with your body, it frees your mind.