Last week I wrote “Eat, Love & Pray Massage“, an article inspired by the book Eat, Pray, Love and how that relates to massage. This week I would like speak about the importance of senses.
Massage awakens the senses
The physical aspect of massage, especially wellness and holistic massage, is not only about “fixing what’s wrong”, but just as much about awakening your senses to touch and stimulation. Sure, many of us only have a massage when we feel sores and pains in our body. That is a shame. Our bodies need a nourishing touch and it has great impact upon our physical and mental health.
Getting regular massages, allowing yourself to enjoy the touch of another, allowing your senses to awaken and dive into them and how they make you feel, is a great healing process. Much research has been done, eg. by the Touch Research Institute, about how important touch is to our emotional, physical and mental health. The last touch-research article I came across, showed the importance of skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby especially for the mother’s health.
Listen to your senses
It is essential to listen to your senses. They tell us a lot about how we’re feeling and what troubles us. A muscle tensing when we speak to a person can tell us that we’re angry, stressed or uncomfortable with the situation. The stomach fluttering lets us know that we’re nervous or excited, our heart beating faster can indicate fear, attraction and anxiety and so on. Our senses allow us to identify the underlying issues.
By listening to our body, we gain much insight and understanding. We can catch arising issues before they become problems and we can deal with stress-factors before they start to stress us.
Appreciate life with sensing
Sensing isn’t just about our body though. By paying attention to our other senses, we can develop an appreciation for life and what is in it. Opening up our mind to our sensations helps us see and experience the joys in life, to see the beauty and how amazing it is.
Allow yourself to dive into your senses. Find a quiet moment and take the time to truly sense something. The softness of silk, the beauty and scent of a flower, the feeling and taste of a ripe fruit. Just sit in silence, focus completely on the sense and observe how it makes you feel. The moment can be truly magical and so much more stimulating than what we often indulge ourselves in.
Senses help and protect us
Lastly, our senses also serve as our guardians. They warn us when something is wrong. Noticing the scent of smoke from dinner burning, the bad smell of food rotting, seeing the car coming or the child about to fall down the tree, hearing a call of distress or a neighbour in trouble, that a person has fever or it’s too cold outside. I’m sure you can come up with plenty of examples where our senses serve as warning signals and are important to our lives.
Unfortunately we live in a society where we’re taught to repress and ignore what we experience. We shouldn’t enjoy the chocolate too much, we can’t feel too much desire, we should ignore the ache in our back, we dress our children warmly even if they say they’re warm enough and so on.
By suppressing the signals our senses send us, we essentially tell them they’re unimportant and do not have true value. We get into the habit of doing things without truly knowing if it is what we need. We overindulge in chocolate, we have problems sexually, our back-ache becomes an injury and our children might get sick.
Connect with your senses
Take the time every day to connect with your senses and practice working with them. Just small steps at a time. Do something that you enjoy and focus on the experience exclusively. Don’t let television, computer, other people or the telephone disturb you. Take five minutes out of the day where you stand still and just feel your senses.
Sense the weather, feel the wind, smell a flower, feel the texture of food in your mouth, touch different surfaces, taste things, breathe deeply and feel the air in your lungs, focus on all the aspects of your morning shower, notice the brush through your hair…
Opening up to your senses doesn’t need to be big, mystical and elaborate. The easiest is just to focus on small things in your daily life and be conscious about it.
Once you become sensuous, you’ll find so much more pleasure and enjoyment in everything you do. Just think of the cat stretching and purring as you pet it. They appreciate their senses and understand how to connect with them.