The elephant in the room … is interpersonal touch.

Let's cut to the chase, touch seems to have become, well, scary.

The touch we lovingly give to our infants is natural and beautiful. Pic: Eric Froehling
The touch we lovingly give to our infants is natural and beautiful. Pic: Eric Froehling

It’s one of those things that hasn’t been talked about it much, never mind asked for or offered to another. However, it’s a vital part of being human.

And at Seated Massage, we’ve found using the word touch can at times, be a marketing negative.

There’s just something about the word that irks people. So, we talk about massage.

And yes, massage is what we do. However it’s touch that we give. And in our experience, it’s touch itself and all the benefits that are part of positive touch, that most people want and need.

Here’s the thing: we all touch. All day, every day in fact. Unwittingly mostly.

We use our hands for pretty much everything. We pet our animals. We grip, hold, poke, push and swipe. We don’t even think about it.

So how is this different to what I’m talking about?

I’m talking about conscious, human to human touch. The touch that is given and received, between people.

The touch that is given because we care and desire to be cared for. And the touch that is asked for because we’re desperate for that level of connection with another.

Touch is an incredibly powerful communication tool.

A way for all living creatures to express themselves to another, non verbally. And yet as we grow out of childhood we learn to keep our hands to ourselves, with aggression and sex being the exceptions. We’re losing the ability to literally reach out to others, to offer and to ask for.

Giving touch speaks loudly, saying “I’m here – with you”. And “You are special, you are valued and worthy”. It’s very simple. There’s not much that is simpler.

Dacher Keltner PhD, social psychologist and co-director of the Greater Good Science Centre at UC Berkeley, has focussed his research on prosocial emotions for many years. Dr Keltner’s studies show the essential need for interpersonal contact and it’s importance in western European cultures.

The science of touch is just one way of looking at and embracing its benefits.

And many still need it to make it ok. However, it seems to us that society generally has over intellectualised something that didn’t need it. We think far too much about something that doesn’t need a lot of thought. This might be where we’ve gone wrong with touch.

David Palmer, the ‘father’ of chair massage, describes touch as the ‘orphan sense’. Whilst it is one of our five major senses, it rarely rates a mention behind sight, hearing, taste and smell.

Ultimately, touch is about relationship. When we give and receive touch we are in relationship with another. This is the greatest virtue of touch whilst engendering the greatest fear in people.

We started Seated Massage because we simply wanted more people to experience and enjoy the benefits of caring touch, everywhere.

We want people to know they can feel fantastic through touch and can then take those feelings back into their workplace, out into the world and into their personal lives. So to simply be more human. More actualised.

The touch we provide is permission-based. So it’s perhaps more accepted. It’s vetted, structured and organised. It’s safe. And it’s a way for us to encourage others to spread the goodness that is and that emanates from touch.

Touch isn’t the bogeyman. The pace of our lives and the bypassing of what we truly know to be good for us in the name of haste and perhaps fear, is.

Part of our greater mission is to help fix this broken part of western life and to encourage people to ask for, receive and give this most beautiful, needed and all but forgotten of human traits.