I Love Touch – Coming to our Senses: It’s about Oxytocin and Connecting
Posted on: 26th March 2018
I love touch. The feel of the wind in my hair. Water in the shower or swimming in the sea. Walking barefoot on the beach. Holding hands. The warm acceptance of a hug. Along with sound, it is a favourite of my senses: http://www.totally-ian.com/love-sound-listening-connecting/
The Touch of Water
I have loved being in water for as long as I remember. Especially warm water. My parents built a swimming pool just in time for my tenth birthday – although it was winter, so it took some time before I could regularly enjoy it. Then we had the privilege of my dad getting some second hand pipe coils and adding solar heating. Wow.
I have fond memories of spending hours on end in the pool on Saturday afternoons. Swimming hundreds of lengths. Twirling and diving. All for the feeling of the water touching my skin. So fully alive.
Friendships benefitted too. Holidays where we were eventually summoned from the pool for dinner. Ah, and holidays camping near the sea. Swimming in the warm Indian Ocean on the South African KZN south coast.
One of my favourite feelings is floating in water. I have a weekly aqua physio session with Jacqui. We do some warm up and cardio. Then some stretches. The best is saved for the last 20 minutes or so: Watsu!
According to Wikipedia Watsu is a form of aquatic bodywork used for deep relaxation and passive aquatic therapy. To me it is meditative. Invigorating. Nurturing. Floating on my back. The masterful Jacqui loosening up my joints and muscles. Being caressed by the water. Being held by Jacqui.
Human touch is a special pleasure. There is a powerful TED talk by Kelly McGonigal on making stress your friend. She discusses the importance of touch in combating anxiety. Hugs release the hormone oxytocin, sometimes called the cuddle chemical or hug hormone! You can find the talk here: Kelly McGonigal: How to make stress your friend
I have strong needs for affection. I’m still intrigued that I remember my first hug as vividly as my first kiss. A special moment. Feeling accepted. Held. Belonging. Loved. Beeeg hugs. Light touches. A lovely way to connect.
I’m also vulnerable to touch overload. The bustle of crowds pressing in. Cramped seats on full aircraft. The uninvited occupants of my personal space. Feeling claustrophobic – or is that a different sense from touch? Also, I love cuddles and hugs but am extremely sensitive to the pressure of someone’s elbow on finger digging into me – I have no idea what that’s about…
Join the Conversation
How about you? What is your favourite way to connect with your world? Which of your senses delight you? Which frustrate or overload you? Join the conversation below…