“Nothing eases suffering like human touch.” ― Bobby Fischer, Chess Meets of the Century
If the last two years have done anything for us, they have catapulted us into the digital age. Zoom meetings, Instagram lives, and work from home mandates have left us more physically disconnected than ever before. Most of us have been isolated in our own personal bubble, and while for some of us there may be comfort, I don't think we can fully process what this shift has done for our relationships and psyche. That feeling of in-person connection is now something we can fully understand. We took it for granted!
I've thought a lot in the last few years about the power of touch (with consent of course) and how deeply the human experience needs this connection. From that space, whether we live alone or with others, I've also noticed how we walk around in our bodies with very little contact. Other cultures are naturally more affectionate than the west, so here we are (most of us) having very little physical contact– even with the ones we love.
While the self-care industry has many flaws, the one thing it stands for that feels right is the power of loving yourself as a means to care for others and those around you. Not enough emphasis gets placed on the fact that self-care and self-love must extend beyond our personal hygiene routines. What makes self-care so impactful is not about the serums or creams that you’re using¬– it’s about taking the time to connect with yourself and to connect with the power of touch. In my mind, this might actually be the whole point!
One of the most important and obvious ways to experience touch in a transformative way is the power of simple massage. Whether you’re single or in a relationship, you can guide yourself through these motions and use this process as a meditation, or awakening, or as a way to feel more connected to yourself or another person.
Touch can release serotonin, elevate mood, reduce stress, reduce pain and do so many things that we often reach for in a bottle or a prescription. The tenderness of touch has the ability to work wonders for the human body. Get into it!
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, make it pleasurable and nurture yourself and your loved ones.
Here are my tips to elevate the power of touch whether you are single or in a partnership.
1- Show up for yourself with love.
Again and again, we see that skincare prays on insecurities and promotes perfection. The only way to get around this is by focusing on self-love. Look in the mirror (even if it sounds a little cheesy) and see and believe in yourself to be the highest version of you possible. Try your best not to focus on the flaws. You can’t always talk yourself out of negative feelings, but you can retrain your brain for the better you.
2- Give it some ambience.
Light a candle, turn on some music, burn some incense– do whatever it takes to get yourself in a zone. (Preferably naked) Gently apply The Balm, or The Oil or whatever massage oil you prefer to use from head to toe. Don’t be afraid and let go of the uncomfortable.
3- Pay attention.
What you may notice is a deepening awareness and physical gratitude for your body. This whole thing is an absolute miracle and without sounding too hippy dippy we really do take it for granted. Stop looking outside yourself to find love and be the love that you want to receive. Truly! A person or partner can’t satisfy all your needs. Only you are equipped to make yourself happy. This is a fact that so many people try to ignore, and with Valentine’s Day being a holiday about love, we constantly compare ourselves and attribute our value to whether someone loves us back. This is so wrong! The work starts with you.
1- Don't be shy.
I have a natural tendency to shy away from doing things like this. I know that I am not the only one. We are so laser focused on our work, on our achievements, on the schedule, and whatever it is that we tend to discuss with our spouse, we rarely experience intimacy in a way that is functional. I believe that if more couples gave each other massages, they would stay together longer. There’s something about being facedown and allowing your partner to give you a massage that is vulnerable and virtually the opposite of the way most of us interact with each other. Get in there!
2- Just do it.
My tip for the couples massage is first and foremost just do it! Set the mood if you want. Or don’t. Take yourselves less seriously. There are no rules. Using The Balm or The Oil, or whatever massage oil you prefer, work out the knots and do what feels right.
Talking about the power of touch feels so obvious and yet so few of us to do any of the above. Our lives are just not designed towards any level of sensuality– romantic or otherwise. Being comfortable in your body starts with becoming familiar with your body and experiencing the gratitude of watching it work.