THE IMPORTANCE OF HUMAN TOUCH
Everybody needs touch in their day to day lives. It's a fundamental biological necessity for human health and happiness. However, how many of us actually receive caring touch on a regular basis (and I don't even mean sexual touch)?
Tantric Healing Therapy sessions offer a professional, confidential and nurturing space to work with issues around touch, whether you're touch deprived, have difficulties in giving and receiving touch, or would like to learn more about communicating what you like and don't like in an empowered and conscious way.
LIVING IN TOUCH-DEPRIVED WESTERN SOCIETY
Recent research clearly shows that we're living in an increasingly touch-deprived society. It's partly due to uncertainty these days around acceptable social and professional touch, and a fear of litigation. Also, if you look around in public spaces, you'll often see people interacting with their devices, rather than with others around them. All of this has an impact on the amount of touch that we receive, limiting our opportunity to interact socially and even intimately with other people.
However, safe, loving touch is essential for feeling connected with other people, for enjoyable intimacy and sex, and for physical and emotional wellbeing through the release essential hormones and endorphins.
DO YOU STRUGGLE WITH GIVING AND RECEIVING LOVING TOUCH?
Many people struggle with touch because of emotional and physical issues, which can include past traumatic experiences such as sexual abuse. Many of us also lack experience and confidence about how to touch others, and express what we do and don't like.
Here are some underlying reasons why touch can be an issue for us in adult life:
Growing up without enough loving touch:
I meet many clients who didn't receive much loving touch from parents or caregivers. Children need regular hugs and cuddles to feel cared for, valued and safe. This type of touch deprivation can result in a longing for touch in adult life, and also a lack of confidence about how to touch in social and intimate situations. Lack of touch in our early years can also create difficulties with emotional intimacy and finding long-term relationships.
Trauma from sexual abuse or physical violence:
I regularly work with men who’ve experienced sexual abuse or physical violence, and this can have a profound impact on feeling safe to receive intimate touch. Parts of the body may be shut down, armored, or very sensitive and fearful. Trauma from past experiences is often stored in the cellular memory of our body, and can block feelings and physical sensations, including pleasure.
Confidence and communication around intimate touch:
Many of us (at least in the UK), grew up without education around touch - aside from when not to touch others. If we didn't grow up in a touch positive environment, then we have had to learn through our own life experience - and it didn't always go well...
There are many techniques about how to give pleasure to others (and yourself) during intimacy, and tantric massage is very helpful for this. However, there's also essential learning about communicating what feels enjoyable and safe, and especially what doesn't. We all need to learn and practice how to communicate consent and healthy boundaries with touch, and it's part of my practice to help support people with this.
Stress and busy schedules:
You may be a professional sitting at a desk for long hours, or a busy parent / caregiver (or perhaps both). Over time we can lose connection with our physical body and become less sensitive to touch. Ironically, the endorphins and happy hormones released through touch help us to combat stress, and to function better at work and at home.
Social isolation, illness and long-term health conditions:
People who live alone, or are affected by serious illness and chronic health conditions, are particularly at risk of touch deprivation. Compassionate touch, and even sensual touch, can help support people who are going through a healing crisis, or are socially isolated. Touch has the potential to alleviate physical and emotional challenges through the release of happy hormones and endorphins.
TOUCH RELEASES HAPPY HORMONES AND ENDORPHINS
Loving touch releases essential hormones and endorphins that don't just feel nice, but play a crucial part in our emotional and physical wellbeing.
Oxytocin the 'cuddle hormone', is directly released through loving touch. It creates bonding and a sense of security and safety between people, whether it's a simple hug, or cuddling after love-making.
Endorphins create a natural high which act as a sedative and diminishes the body's perception of pain. Endorphins released through tantric bodywork can be helpful for managing long-term health conditions, including chronic pain.
Serotonin gets activated when we receive attention, and feel significant and cared for. Low levels of serotonin can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression, especially for people who are socially isolated.
Touch deprivation affects our brain chemistry and therefore our emotional health. It can be a factor in substance abuse, pornography addiction and other addictive patterns which comfort an underlying longing for love and connection.
HOW CAN THERAPEUTIC TANTRIC MASSAGE HELP?
Tantric healing sessions offer a unique therapeutic approach for exploring issues around touch in a professional and nurturing environment. Issues that can be supported include touch-deprivation, trauma caused by inappropriate touch, and lack of confidence with touch.
Tantric-Taoist bodywork includes the whole body (or areas agreed during the consultation and consent process), unlike other conventional massage therapies which generally exclude the genital area. I specialize in supporting men's sexual and intimacy issues through touch, including therapeutic prostate massage and lingam massage, where appropriate.
Sessions last 4 - 5 hours to allow time for in-depth consultation and a long sequence of bodywork to build trust and promote relaxation before working in the pelvic area.
Tantric Healing Therapy sessions include the following elements:
Time to talk:
Sessions begin with plenty of time for consultation, including filling out a confidential questionnaire, agreeing boundaries, and discussing the aims and objectives of the session. For many people, it's very helpful to have a space to talk openly and share past experiences and difficulties in a confidential space.
Boundaries and consent are integral to tantric healing, and part of ThT's Ethical Practice. Empowerment is an integral part of the session, and clients are encouraged to communicate throughout about how they are feeling, and what they like and don't like.
Relaxation and activating cellular memory through touch:
The first part of the bodywork focuses on deep relaxation, and activating the client's parasympathetic nervous system. This helps the body to open both emotionally and physically for the therapeutic work.
We then work with both the back and front of the body. Clients may feel strong physical sensations and / or emotions during the bodywork. Touch can evoke memories of past experiences which have been stored in the body's cellular memory. ThT practitioners offer a professional and caring space for strong emotions to be felt and released. Parts of the bodywork also feel very enjoyable, with the opportunity to experience different types of touch during the session.
Why male prostate massage and lingam massage?
Working with the pelvic area can be key for men who've been victims of abuse, or who feel challenged by emotional or physical intimacy. In the Taoist tradition, the pelvic basin is where we store difficult negative life experiences, and also physical tension and toxins. All these factors can affect our sexual energy or 'Jing' (life-force), which is key for health and vitality.
Reactivating our physical body:
When we are touch-deprived, some parts of the body may shut-down to receiving touch and even become numb. During the bodywork, I encourage clients to follow my hands to feel their body fully, together with different breathwork techniques. Conscious awareness and breath helps to reactivate neural pathways, and clients can then reconnect with their entire body again.
Help with emotional intimacy:
A great tantric teacher once said, 'In order to be intimate with another, we need to be intimate with ourself'. Tantric touch focuses on bringing you into deeper connection with your body and emotions, and practitioners will support you with recognising and communicating your personal boundaries.
Learning about touch:
Do you know how to touch someone without agenda, and the difference between sensual and sexual touch? Can you ask for what you want, and feel confident to express what doesn't feel okay? This is an essential part of conscious relating and sexuality. For returning clients, we will explore simple exercises to help build confidence around giving and receiving touch.
After the session:
Clients are given optional homework and signposted to ongoing sources of support, as necessary.
Kate Elena offers Tantric Healing sessions in London and Thailand. Please contact her for more information, and to book a session: