11.01.MassageLife cannot thrive without touch. This is so fundamental that too often it goes without being said or even recognized.

The embrace of the baby in the womb, the touch of the mother, father and other adults nurturing, feeding, welcoming the child, the later touch of peers, lovers, partners, the touch of our own children – we each have a tactile autobiography. Touch through times of triumph, challenge, defeat, sickness, recovery. Touch during the end of life process.

Many years ago in the comic strip, Pogo, Albert the alligator, was selling this incredible substance he called “H2O.” Its varied uses were incredible. You could wash with it, make soup with it, swim in it, help plants grow with it. Eventually he was discovered as hawking water! But indeed water is indeed this incredible substance of truly incalculable value. So it is with touch.

I propose a new vitamin. VITAMIN T.

Without touch, virtually none of our actions would take place because ultimately the primary way we take action upon reality is through touch. And certainly one of the primary ways we feel is through touch. One of the primary ways we can even KNOW if something is real is through touching it.

Touch is the first sense to develop in the embryo. The baby’s sense of touch begins in the womb as early as 7.5 weeks. Thus, touch forms the foundation for our sensory world.

The architect Charles Moore talking of the “haptic” nature of touch wrote –

“No other sense deals as directly with the three-dimensional world or similarly carries with it the possibility of altering the environment in the process of perceiving it; that is to say, no other sense engages in feeling and doing simultaneously.”

It’s worth repeating and reading it slowly.

“No other sense deals as directly with the three-dimensional world or similarly carries with it the possibility of altering the environment in the process of perceiving it; that is to say, no other sense engages in feeling and doing simultaneously.”

Every time we touch, we feel and we act and we help change the world, to some small or large extent. When we do massage therapy, we help clients alter the environment of their body, mind and spirit through the facilitating, existentially fundamental effects of touch.

Perhaps many of the socio-political challenges we face stem from lack of touch or from lack of healthy touch. This is a massive vitamin deficiency. Education about the healthy effects of touch – our most fundamental sense – is dramatically under-emphasized in education and around the world. Ironically, the most important things in life – such as touch, spiritual beliefs, sexuality, parenting, right livelihood, the destructive consequences of prejudice – all are mostly exiled from education as they are viewed as too personal. Too personal?

The nourishment of the very roots of our humanity is personal! And I believe it starts with a healthy therapeutic dose of Vitamin T.

And, like all the most important manifestations of kindness in this world, touch is free.

“Love is touch. Touch is love.” ~ John Lennon

What the world needs now…you know what it is. Let us be, deeply, in touch. The world needs Vitamin T.