Here at Centered Holistic Health, we have a strong focus on helping you to receive the level of connection and regulation that feels as safe and accessible as possible in the moment. Touch is critical. From the time we are born until we die, it is a basic human need. And many of us have a tricky relationship with touch. Perhaps we didn’t get enough as children, or perhaps the touch we received was unwanted or mis-attuned or perhaps we’ve had some great experiences with touch and simply want more. And as we learned during the Covid shut down, it’s much more challenging to get that care when we are alone. Giving and receiving comforting, safe, loving touch helps our nervous system to feel regulated and promotes the release of oxytocin, considered the love hormone. Oxytocin has been shown to decrease stress and anxiety levels, creating a positive impact on social behaviors related to relaxation, trust, and overall psychological stability. Once thought to only be released during sex, pregnancy, or breastfeeding, we now know all humans produce oxytocin and it can help us bond with loved ones and can be released through touch, music, movement or exercise.

“Just the simple act of touch boosts oxytocin release. Giving someone a massage, cuddling, making love, or giving someone a hug leads to higher levels of this hormone and a greater sense of well-being.” Harvard Medical School

I’d like to define a few key terms that have become more relevant and mainstream over the past few years. These terms may be helpful in understanding the benefits and nuances of touch.

Co-regulation is the interactive process by which caring adults provide warm supportive relationships, promote self-regulation through coaching, modeling, and feedback, and structure supportive environments.

Self regulation is the ability to understand and manage your behavior and your reactions to feelings and things happening around you. It includes being able to: regulate reactions to strong emotions like frustration, excitement, anger and embarrassment.

Self reliance is relying on one’s own powers and resources rather than those of others. (This is not always ideal as we can become overly self reliant and find ourselves in isolation)

Co-dependence When our sense of self worth and emotional needs are dependent on receiving affection from the other person. Receiving professional touch can greatly help with unwinding codependent patterns and tendencies.

Interdependence is to depend on each other; consisting of parts that depend on each other. (it takes a village)

Interoception is the process of how the nervous system senses, interprets, and integrates signals originating from within the body. (I learned about interoception 20 years ago when studying baby massage – it’s one of my favorite concepts)

Proprioception is the sense that allows us to perceive the location, movement, and action of parts of the body. It encompasses a complex of sensations, including perception of muscles, skin, joint position, movement, and effort.

Attunement is our ability to be aware of and respond to others needs. It is deeply connected to emotional intelligence and emotional attachment.

It may take a bit of time to figure out what your Goldilocks dose is. The Centered Team is here to help. Here are some opportunities to dip your toes in slowly – perhaps with your orange life jacket on – and take your time to decide if you might want to begin with just a handshake or a hug. And, we won’t make an assumption that you are ready for a hug soon as you walk in the door, but many of us are so willing to offer that, should you desire. Then maybe on to chair massage, which is lower risk for many of us as it can be done in the community space with clothes on and the client controls the amount of pressure and length of receiving. An hour massage with one of our amazing practitioners might be the next step. There’s so much potential for gaining awareness of your personal needs for attunement, self and co-regulation.

Somatic Intimacy Coaching or a half hour hug with Lauren may be an even bigger step where we dive deeper into co-regulation and learn how to self regulate in the moments when we don’t have someone else available. A new offering called, The Half Hour Hug is not coaching but does offer lots of touch care and regulation without having to talk about it.

Book these touch opportunities:

We are here to help you find the kind of touch that is right for you. We look forward to welcoming you here at Centered soon!