The Power of Touch!

Alexis …

This article came to mind after a colleague shared her thoughts and feelings about her much loved Grandmother. The lady had spent the last five years or so in a care home. It was a difficult time for the family to see such a strong and independent woman face this stage of her life. During one of her regular visits my colleague learned a valuable lesson;
those at a fragile stage of life in a care home receive very little in the way of positive ‘touch’.

Family and friends tend to be tentative, maybe because in the final stages of life their loved one is so fragile and severe illness may bring about painful, unpreditable behaviour. So the vast majority of contact is being dressed, undressed, washed, medical attention and help going to the toilet, all of which are usually very distressing for them.

When a loved one is terminally ill visits to see them are often emotional and stressful. During a difficult morning visit, Grandmother had been depressed and did not want to get up. Being forced to get up made her stressed and upset. Taking her hand, my colleague let the gentle Reiki energy flow between them this simple gesture brought about a wonderful positive response. Later the staff commented on a change of mood saying, “Grandmother seems to have become calm and serene”. We can feel so helpless watching people go through the final stages of life.

So I guess I wanted to share this because you may be experiencing something similar or if not may do so at a time in the future. It does not matter at what stage in life we reach ‘touch’ is powerful. While working with the elderly in the UK … on several occasions I was told,

 “No one touches me anymore”!  Hugs Are Good!

I had a similar personal experience in a hospice several years ago. The gentleman had been a good friend to me in the past. He was on my list of ‘special people’! When I was in need of a little support he had helped me and I will never forget him.

During my last visit for the first time I gently stroked his hand.  He moved his fingers onto mine ... a show of recognition. This once large, strong, independent man was almost unrecognisable; the Cancer had spread rapidly...

I had other appointments to keep and ‘still’ remember being suddenly gripped with a fear of ‘touch’, not knowing what to do…I took a few moments to use my Reiki and when it came time for me to go I kissed his forehead ... there was a hint of a smile. He died later that afternoon in the presence of his family... So pleased that I overcame my fear of ‘touch’!

·         In our everyday life touch is so important.

·         A supportive ‘touch’ on the arm or shoulder giving approval and encouragement.

·         Animals respond so well to ‘touch’ and a gentle caress.

·         Holding hands…warms the heart and is endearing to see.

·         Hugs, of course, are a wonderful comfort!

Because we live in an age of reason and technology many people are losing the awareness of their senses. When we ‘touch’ in a spirit of compassion, we bring life

to our senses and reaffirm our trust in our ability to feel.