Many of us think of a hug when seeking a comforting gesture during tough times. But we think holding hands is much more powerful. Let’s explore why.
Let’s start by considering what we need when we are feeling down. Compassion is high on most people’s list. Together with sympathy, kindness and warmth.
But none of those things mean very much at all, if the recipient is unable to feel them.
So actually, what really matters is sensitivity. The more sensitive a gesture feels, the better its healing effect.
We don’t want to get all scientific in this post. Suffice to say the skin on your body is covered with tiny little cells called sensory neurons.
These skin receptors are not spaced out equally across the body, so some parts have more than others. For example, the sensory neurons in your fingertips are much more concentrated than those across your back.
The higher the concentration of sensory neurons in an area, the larger the brain power allocated to receiving and decoding those signals.
And, simply put, more brain resource equals more sensitivity.
What that means then, is that if you want someone to feel genuine compassion directed towards them you should deliver it from, and to, areas of high sensitivity.
The high concentration of sensory receptors is one of the reasons hand reflexology so pleasantly surprises many first time receivers. Both therapist and patient interact through areas full of sensory neurons, which turns up the sensitivity knob, and often results in a deep feeling of being cared for.
Hugs are great, but the next time you really want someone to feel you care, try gently enveloping their hands with your own and hold the position for around five seconds. It creates a wonderful flow of energy between the two people.
As massage therapists, touch through hands is at the heart of everything we do. Find out more about the power of touch and how it can help with loneliness.
On a related note, one of the best ways to completely relax your mind is actually to throw your senses into a little confusion … so that you give up trying to analyse the world around you and just switch off instead. This isn’t easy to achieve, especially for the typical active minded Londoner! But many people have found a high quality four-hands massage is hard to beat in this respect.