The concept of touch is a fraught one. When we are infants, we are dependent on it for our survival, but as we grow older, we are taught to be frightened of it, especially when it comes from strangers. As adults, we are fortunate if we have partners or children who meet our touch needs (though oftentimes they don’t). We certainly don’t expect to get compassionate touch from complete strangers. Below are the criteria we use for defining - and giving - immersive touch.
Immersive touch is:
- Consensual: immersive touch is touch that you have said YES to, and want to receive.
- Pleasurable: immersive touch feels good, and is enjoyable.
- Safe: immersive touch has clear boundaries, and you know exactly what to expect.
- Obligation-free: immersive touch is not given with the expectation of reciprocal touch.
- Accepting: immersive touch meets you where you are, and treats you as a whole and complete person.
- Conscious: immersive touch is done with awareness to your unique physical and emotional needs.
- Validating: immersive touch makes you feel worthy, respected and seen.
- Nurturing: immersive touch makes you feel supported, cherished and loved.
Immersive touch is not:
- Sexual: immersive touch is not meant to arouse a sexual response. It doesn't involve genitals or nudity.
- Romantic: immersive touch is not about physical attraction, coupling or an ongoing relationship (or any illusion of the same).
- Medical: compassionate touch is not a substitute for seeing your doctor, therapist or other trained healthcare professional (but it is an important component of an integrated wellness regimen).