Soothing and Stimulating with Touch
(Workbook Page 18)
Stimulating touch receptors is a remarkably robust experience. Light touch is the fastest nerve communication to the brain and occurs instantaneously via molecular signals. A gentle stroke is one of the most calming, soothing and reassuring experiences. At the same time there is a strong aspect of it being very stimulating to the body, nervous system and brain. This signaling substitutes for pain perception and can replace it entirely. Used with intension and done repetitively, the pain signal shrinks and is replaced by healing touch experience. If touch has become a painful experience, we must begin by stimulating other senses or touch at a distance from the affected areas. If light touch is painful, sometimes pressure is pleasurable. Understanding the sensitivities of the pain process can help to find ways to be “touched” that are soothing and non-threatening. As a person progresses through their treatment program, manual therapies may identify areas of disuse or atrophy that may initially be painful, but with time and movement retrain body and brain to replace abnormal, painful responses with normal function and sensation.