Sunday, October 2, 2016

Soothing touch

I attended an excellent presentation on infant massage.  We have read that premature or abandoned or orphaned babies do quite a lot better over the whole lifespan if they get good massage as infants.  Our presenter emphasized that touch is the most fundamental of our senses and I have read that in books by David Linden and others.  I have read about the amount of touching in different societies and I just read a report by a Hispanic man at the University of California who said he advises caution in trying to decide how much this sort or that sort of person touches.

I have had two or three massages in my life and they were ok but they didn't put me in orbit or send me to dreamland.  I know that making love and having sex involve all sorts of touching and there is no doubt in my mind that people are cautious about touching that could be arousing or invasive or unwanted.  I do a little grieving over the perfectly fine pleasure circuits in our bodies that go to waste as we age. Maybe better use of our body possibilities with appropriate safeguards and restrictions could extend the years of pleasure.

Our presenter talked about programs of infant massage and she emphasized that in the program support by, one learns to start by asking permission of the baby.  Naturally, the question arose How can a tiny infant, who can't even talk, give permission to be massaged?  The presenter explained that proceeding slowly and all the while carefully observing the baby can reveal a surprising amount of communication by the baby as to whether things are pleasing and happily anticipated or not.  She explained that while one leg and foot are being massaged, the baby may giggle and wiggle the other leg in anticipation of having it massaged, too.

It may just be unfounded romanticism to envision not only babies but people of all ages getting more touch of just the right intensity and speed to please and improve body awareness.  I imagine older women, experienced and expert at comforting being employed by football and hockey teams to soothe and stroke and comfort players who are injured.  They could sit right on the bench and be ready to comfort, maybe under a cloth, like an enlarged version of a breastfeeding cloth that some women use.

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