By Megan Hoskins, Slow Medicine Company
Right now our health depends on hand washing, wearing masks, sanitizing surfaces and keeping our distance. But equally important for our health is our ability to connect with other humans, to cooperate, to communicate and to be together. These days, when we pass someone in the hallway we give an extra eye crinkle to communicate the smile of acknowledgement behind our mask. Even in times of crisis we are wired to find ways to seek out that connection.
During the month of February, when is the world is talking about love, I want to share how we can self love through touch in a nurturing way.
Physical touch is important to our wellbeing.
Holding hands, hugging, cuddling, they’re all pretty good especially when you apply moderate pressure. But what about when you’re isolated and not able to ask for that physical connection?
Here are a few ways to explore self touch so that you can generate all those feel-good hormones, boost your own immune system and decrease stress naturally.
This style of self touch combines acupressure with physiology. The idea is that you repetitively tap specific areas of your body while focusing on a particular sensation or emotion.
TRY THIS: Tap the bone directly under your eye. You can tap on one side or both sides simultaneously using your fingertips. Tapping here releases fear and anxiety and promotes a feeling of calm and safety.
- Self Hug
OK, ok, we know… at first self hugging can feel a little silly. But with so many benefits, it's more silly to not give it a chance! Hugging yourself can improve your mood, reduce pain, boost feelings of safety and security and provide relaxation.
TRY THIS: Place your right hand under your left armpit and cross your lef t arm over to hold your right shoulder. Give yourself a squeeze and try rocking from side to side. Switch up the hold and try with long slow breaths.
- Self Massage
As a registered massage therapist, I must tell you that nothing beats the real thing! But, when you stimulate the pressure receptors in your body you target the vagus nerve (responsible for inhibiting cortisol - the stress hormone), and there’s an increase in serotonin, which is the body’s natural antidepressant and anti-pain chemical.
TRY THIS: Turn your fingers into massage combs and “comb” your whole scalp. Start at the nape of your neck working upwards from your temple working toward the back, and from your forehead toward the crown of your head. Apply moderate to deep pressure, go slow, and cycle through a few times.
- Get Outside
This one is a bit of a stretch as far as the self touch goes, but the benefits of getting outside are so great, that I had to add it in. A change of scenery, fresh air, and exercise plus when you’re walking, you’re stimulating the pressure sensors in your feet! Take in the sounds and the feeling of sun on your skin.
If you can safely touch or hug the members in your family or bubble, please do that often. If you want to learn more about connection through touch, please join our Partner Massage Masterclass. Otherwise take matters into your own hands!
Partner Massage Masterclass
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