Health & Wellness: Anxiety and the art of human touch

PHOTO CREDIT: Metro Creative

Julie Haufe PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

PHOTO CREDIT: Metro Creative

Julie Haufe PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

It isn’t surprising that anxiety levels increased during and following the COVID-19 pandemic, which took away closeness and touch and turned it into something dangerous.

The pandemic reshaped our relationship with touch and, in return, weakened our social interactions of hugging family and friends, giving handshakes or high fives to co-workers, and even relating to people face-to-face.

Our social networks were weakened and the lack of touch created loneliness in many.

Studies have shown that loneliness is as associated with mortality as being obese, an alcoholic, or a smoker.

We have nerve fibers in our skins that detect and emotionally respond to touch. Touch can provide comfort and affirm our relationships, our social connections and even our sense of self.

A study was conducted to determine the lasting effects of a massage (touch therapy) technique with and without applying essential oils. It was determined that massage alone was able to reduce heart rate, mean arterial pressure, diastolic blood pressure and cortisol levels, thereby reducing anxious feelings.

Those who received massage with essential oils had even more pronounced benefits.

doTerra’s AromaTouch technique, an essential oil application created by David Hill, founding executive and chairman of scientific operations at doTerra, combines touch with essential oils and promotes homeostasis and relaxation, reduces stress and supports overall well-being.

My family has benefited for years from the AromaTouch technique. My kids receive this whenever they feel emotionally distressed. I believe they receive the comfort of touch therapy, a wonderful back rub and the added health benefits of the aromatic essential oils. Most importantly, they feel supported, nurtured and loved.

The physical and emotional benefits of essential oils with my clients are evident as well.

I encourage those who need to get touch back into their lives to experience an AromaTouch massage, or exchange a hand or foot massage with someone they are close with to help reduce stress and be comforted through touch. It is an easy way to create a healthy relationship when showing care for someone.

Julie Haufe is a licensed massage therapist, reiki master practitioner and essential oils certified specialist at Statera Integrated Health and Wellness Solutions in Dubuque.

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