Touch is much more than making physical contact with an object to perceive texture, temperature or form.

I believe touch reaches beyond the tactile, involving all of our senses, and intuition, to guide us through the world, and to affect those around us. Touch is powerful; it can bring pleasure, offer support or inflict pain. With focused awareness and intent, touch can offer the greatest gift of humankind, a compassionate sharing of our highest self.

How do we experience the power of touch in our everyday world amidst so many cliches? Re-examine touch in terms of affecting change. In the 1984 Bell Telephone ad “Reach out and touch someone,” suggested voice as one avenue of connection, that kind words and a laugh can touch the heart. Perhaps seeing beyond the obvious or expected, to a deeper level of understanding and empathy is another valuable medium.

“Taking time to smell the flowers” is a gift of touch that creates feelings of joy and appreciation. Those things pleasing to the mind and gratifying to our emotions, move us: taste the sweetness of success or feel warmed by a smile. Sentimental Hallmark card-like words or gestures often have the same physical, or felt the sense as a tactile experience. Whereas harsh gestures cut like a knife, while a blunt comment is a punch in the gut, to say nothing of an icy gaze.

In my physical therapy practice, I use hands-on techniques to influence an improved physical state. Using kinesthetic sense, to feel, or listen to what a body has to say, my hands support, release and follow a body’s guidance toward effective change. For more than two decades, I have witnessed the intertwined nature of the physical, emotional and spiritual, and the transformative effect that touch, directly or through the expression of other senses, can deliver.

Through training and experience, I have learned to clear my energetic boundaries in order to facilitate health and healing. This means letting go of negative thoughts, emotions and physical tensions that can interfere with clear perception. Such a practice helps me to better understand what is being communicated and to respond by focusing the intention of my touch, my words and my gestures. It has become an automatic practice for me to become centered and grounded before connecting with a client.

“Through the wondrous variety of touch, we can bring about beautiful changes.”

Some days I have to take extra care to share my presence of mind, body, and spirit in connection with another. I wonder if these skills were not critical to my career, would I so readily notice my effect in the relationship with my family, friends, and passers-by?

I feel it is a gift to have stumbled into this awareness, a gift I would like to pass on. I invite you to touch the world, and each other with awe, curiosity, great reverence, and joy. Decide to make a difference today, with a sincere look, smile, nod, or an extra moment to listen. Through the wondrous variety of touch, we can bring about beautiful changes. Let us be stewards, not just in protecting and sustaining the earth, but also one another.

About the Author

Laura Simmons
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Laura graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and began her career as a licensed Physical Therapist in 1991. Career opportunities, coursework in osteopathic manual therapies, rock climbing and adventuring took Laura first to the south, then throughout the west before finally settling in Jackson Hole in 2005. Here she opened her own Physical Therapy private practice, fell in love and had a baby. She now lives on the west bank with her husband and children, passionate about her family and all Jackson has to offer. She is creator and manager of the newly established Wilson Wellness, LLC, a new and growing facility that currently offers physical therapy and personal training options. www.laurapt.com

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