To touch or not to touch

Updated: May 4

Touch has been the topic of much conversation and research in relation to therapy and healing. As far back as Freud, touch was recognised to have successful therapeutic effects on healing. It has since disappeared from mainstream medicine to become associated with alternative therapy or medicine due to it being unscientific in nature.

Touch Therapy

But does touch therapy have the same qualities as talk therapy? Indeed, if used together, can the outcome be stronger for mental and physical support of conditions? The physical benefits of touch are; lowering of Blood pressure, a decrease of pain, improvement to mood, decrease in the stress-related cortisol and heart rate, together with an overall calming effect. Recent studies have in fact found that dementia patients who received hand or feet massages had reduced agitation and anxiety. With an increased aging population and further predicted to increase, the rise of conditions, such as; Alzheimer's and dementia demands a need to support treatment with practices that can increase the patient's body awareness, alertness and reduce confusion, anxiety and associated loneliness. For this to happen, both trained professional therapists, care sector providers, those suffering and the extended families and friends around them need to fully understand the disease process, the exhibiting and non-exhibiting characteristics and recognise the benefit of using massage/touch therapy to contribute to greater physical, emotional and mental well-being. The benefits to the individual can be seen, however, wider beneficiaries include; Carer displayed a commitment to raising the standards of care, the cost to the health system, resident and family satisfaction, and benefits to the staff supporting patients. #touchtherapy #caresector #dementia #alzheimers #therapy #massage #aromatherapy