Physician and holistic health pioneer Rachel Naomi Remen once confessed that as a pediatric intern she was an unrepentant baby kisser, often smooching her little patients as she made her rounds at the hospital. She did this when no one was looking because she sensed her colleagues would frown on her behavior, even though she couldn’t think of a single reason not to do it.
Soothing touch, whether it be applied to a ruffled cat, a crying infant, or a frightened child, has a universally recognized power to ameliorate the signs of distress. How can it be that we overlook its usefulness on the jangled adult as well? What is it that leads us to assume that the stressed child merely needs “comforting,” while the stressed adult needs “medicine”?
— from Job’s Body: A Handbook for Bodywork by Deane Juhan
I can’t tell you how glad I was to see your name in my calendar this week,” said Elaine as she rushed into my treatment room. “I’ve been really stressed at work — the timing’s perfect for a
“Any specific areas you want me to check today?” I asked.
“I guess mainly my neck and shoulders, whatever you find,” she said.
She lay down on the table, and we both took a deep breath as I gently contacted her neck with an open palm. Before long, she was breathing deeply, relaxed and calm, on the verge of sleep.
A parent’s touch holds great power. The soothing massage of a mother’s hand can calm a fussy infant. A child’s fevered brow may be cooled by the gentle stroke of her father’s palm. And in too many unfortunate cases, a child may be physically hurt and abused by a striking blow from his parent. A natural conduit for emotions, touch or the lack thereof transmits important information about the parent/child bond, whether one of acceptance or rejection.