- Karen Stoner, LMT
Massage Tips and Trivia: Touch is the First Sense
"Touch is the first of the five senses that we develop"
One of the reasons that massage has such a profound effect on people is because it is a part of our existence. Touch is the first sense that we develop, and it is also one of the last senses we lose as we age. Our skin is incredibly sensitive, so the sense of touch has been a part of our being since our creation. At conception - the basic formation of a human being - The first cell splits into three parts: One part eventually becomes the skeleton, one part develops into the majority of our organs, and the last part becomes our skin and brain. Since our skin is most responsible for the sense of touch, it shows how important touch is for humans.
Think about strong memories you may have - how many of them in some way involve touch or being touched? Is it the feel of cold water when jumping into the ocean? Was it a hug from a close friend after getting some good news? Or likewise a caring embrace when dealing with a bad situation? What about the last time you banged your elbow really hard - what did you do? Probably rubbed it. What do you do when you want to provide comfort or let someone know you're there for them? You hold their hand. Touch is natural and instinctive because it has been a part of you since the very beginning. Very often touch is used as and remembered as a good thing, but there are some occasions where touch can be associated with bad or painful memories, and that makes living with this sense that much more difficult. Nevertheless, even when touch is painful, many therapies encourage to "re-learn good touch" to restore this faith in this instinct.
Massage capitalizes on this instinctive sense to create powerful change in the body. Wether it is relaxation and reducing stress, or healing an injury - touch is used. Massage uses a dual sense of touch - the touch of the therapist finding and feeling the areas that need it, then applying the right touch to help the issue, and the resulting relief for the person receiving the massage. Touch can be used to heal, to calm, to relax, and inspire. It has been with us since the beginning, and is one of the things that affects everything we experience.