By Cody Ricket
One of my early childhood memories is going to the doctor. I never really dreaded the visit, as some children did. I felt comfortable, actually, because I knew the doctor was going to be acting in my best interest—to remedy my sickness. If I was feverish, or had a sore throat, the doctor would place her hand on my head and neck, palpating for signs and symptoms. Then she would place a stethoscope on my chest, listening to my heartbeat and other sounds of respiration.
I can vividly remember the sensation of receiving her touch, and it was that receptive sensation and connection that was most soothing. Even if the palpation was only for a matter of seconds, the contact was enough to make a difference in my mental, emotional, and physical constitution.
With bodywork and reflexology, touch is the medicine. Touch is our primary tool to connect with the body and mind, and to bring the client's awareness to where the sensations naturally lead. There is an innate, mind-boggling level of genius and wisdom within the systems of the body, so good bodywork is merely tapping into that network in a way that is gentle, intuitive, and well-informed.
In Job's Body: A Handbook for Bodywork, Deane Juhan writes:
"Touch is the chronological and psychological Mother of the Senses. In the evolution of sensation, it was undoubtedly the first to come into being. It is, for instance, rather well developed in the ancient single cell amoeba. All the other special senses are actually exquisite sensitizations of particular neural cells to particular kinds of touch: compressions of air upon the ear drum, chemicals on the nasal membrane and taste buds, photons on the retina. In the human embryo, the sense of touch develops in the sixth week, when we are less than an inch long. Light stroking of the upper lip at this time causes a strong withdrawal, a bending back of the entire neck and trunk.
Touch, more than any mode of sensation, defines for us our sense of reality. As Bertrand Russell observed, "Not only our geometry and our physics, but our whole conception of what exists outside us, is based upon the sense of touch.'"
Clearly, there are profound implications and possibilities within the scope of touch. From the simplest beginnings, to the most advanced stages of intellect, touch plays an integral part in our development, and in our happiness.
As Deane Juhan points out, even the basic, perceptual mechanisms of listening with our ears, and seeing with our eyes, are invitations to receive data-packed vibrations from the outside. His eloquent description calls to mind an experience I had this past Christmas while watching the musical An American in Paris at the Straz Center in Tampa. An old friend of mine, Garen Scribner, was playing the lead role and dazzling the audience with his top-notch performance. At the end of the show, I met him at the stage door. We hugged with a vibrant vigor (having not seen each other for several years), and I thought to myself: What a privilege it is that I get to embrace this marvelously creative and dynamic person, who specializes in enlivening and enriching the senses of viewers and listeners around the world!
Having recently joined the Foot Whisper Reflexology Institute, I now get the privilege of being on the giving end of therapeutic touch. Things are coming full circle. To give is to truly receive, and therein lies the miracle. The miracle of bodywork and reflexology is that the body can heal, rejuvenate, and restore itself to bliss, when given the chance, through the help of caring, knowledgeable touch.
It is our birthright to live a healthy, blissful life. Claim your birthright, and if so inclined, let the miracle of bodywork and reflexology assist you along your path.
Love. Radiance. Unity.