Reflections on communicating via touch

By Jonlí Montes LAc.

A couple of days ago a colleague posted an article published in 2010 by the NYT, that surveyed research behind touch and its effects on human beings.  Even though for me some of that information was not new; the article and my further searches, refreshed my thoughts about healing relationships.

Touch can transmit emotions. Ok, that might seem evident in the sense that the way we touch can produce a desired sensation on the receiver, such as pleasure, comfort, pain, etc.   What we are talking about is more profound than the relative differences between a gentle touch and a shove. Touch is a very sophisticated sense that we have been developing since probably before birth and because it can be so nuanced, our bodyminds can actually perceive even very subtle differences on the emotions of the transmitter and react in very powerful ways.

Touching people for a profession has given us the ability to communicate with our patients in ways that sometimes are hard to articulate for either of us. We have been trained in how to diagnose by feeling peoples pulses, where we can tell if the person is relaxed, tired, stressed, hasn’t eaten or is in pain among many other things. We palpate different areas of the body including abdomen, bones, muscles, meridians, we feel the skin, we apply our treatments and we learn even more.

Touching people for a profession is an honor. Our patients learn to trust us when we touch them. They lie comfortable and vulnerable on the table and they receive our educated touch, with our hands, needles and tools.  We put our intentions in places of gratitude, healing and love. And they feel, and their bodies know. We transmit a message with our touch, and it is then when it happens, when their bodies do magic.