For most of us, being touched is a desirable and even necessary part of life. Being touched triggers the release of oxytocin which can create a feeling of contentment and reduce anxiety. It also forms a part of our communication process.
However for some people, the fear of being touched is a very real thing. Conditions like haphephobia and aphenphosmphobia (fear of being touched) can have different causes such as sensory imbalances, physical conditions or trauma. If this applies to you, there are therapies that can help, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, and hypnotherapy.
So can people who don’t like being touched enjoy a massage?
It’s the skin
Some people don’t like the feeling of being touched on their skin. If you are one of these people, it is possible to have a massage through your clothes or through a thin sheet. And in fact this is quite common, as a lot of workplace and event massages are performed through clothing.
If you are booking a massage and intend to keep your clothes on, let your massage therapist know as they may want you to avoid wearing certain types of clothing such as jeans.
Leave it out
Other people don’t like certain parts of their body being touched, and I understand this. Personally, I used to hate anyone touching my face – now I love having my face and head massaged as I find this is a really good way to get rid of a headache.
A good therapist will explain what is going to happen, which parts of your body they are going to work on, and ask for your permission to proceed. If you really don’t want a certain area being touched, that’s fine, we can leave that bit out.
If you really can’t bear to be touched at all, there are other therapies around, in particular energy therapies such as Reiki, which can provide amazing results.
If you’re not sure whether you’ll enjoy a massage or not, give it a go, it’s worth it! Let your therapist know up front if you have any worries, and remember – if you decide you hate it you can stop at any time, it’s your massage. Your therapist may be able to offer a small mini-massage so you can get an idea of how you’ll feel. And you never know, you might experience some wonderful benefits like I did and find you actually enjoy it.
In part three of this blog I will look at other reasons people avoid booking a massage, including some that they often won’t admit to.