Nearly ten years ago I treated my mom to her first ever spa day – she was 79 years old. It was her first time ever having a massage or a facial. I wasn’t sure she would like it and she was extremely apprehensive about the new experience.
She sat with a very straight back in the library (The Spa’s version of a relaxation room) before her treatment waiting for her therapist to come get her. She was clutching her robe tight up around her neck and her knees were pressed together with such force that I thought they would be bruised.
About two and a half hours later, I find her back in the library leaning back in a comfy chair, a glass of juice in one hand and dish of trail mix in the other, with her robe loose around her and this amazing look of bliss on her face that I had never seen before. She looked at me and said “Patti, that was the most amazing thing ever! I had no idea!” To hear that from a 79 year old lady who raised 5 kids and had (multiple) husbands was truly an honor.
I’ve spent time reflecting on her reaction since then. I realized that as we age, there is less touching. As we incur sickness and health issues, there is less contact, unless it is in a medical way. Think on it a moment – how many older people do you know who are single and don’t have a spouse to offer them a hug or even a pat on the back on a regular basis? How many people do you know who are ill? Much of the time people unconsciously pull away from sickness, and often individuals who are ill are rarely touched other than to be poked and prodded by a doctor or nurse.
Touch can be the most healing and therapeutic treatment and have the most impact in our life. Imagine for a moment not having touch in your life at all.
I’ve seen other elderly clients come to The Spa, brought by their savvy daughters and sons. I’ve seen their tears of appreciation and relaxed, serene smiles that they certainly didn’t have when they arrived. Their expression of gratitude is genuine and heartfelt.
Of course, the massage must be carefully orchestrated with appropriate pressure and respect for their personal comfort; for some it is no pressure at all, just a soothing application of lotion or oil. If there are medical issues, the massage should be scheduled with a specially trained therapist. Often times a facial can provide the same experience – attention with a caring and nurturing personal touch.
I encourage you to take a good look around you at the people in your life and see if you can offer them the same comfort and loving gesture as I gave my mom. To bring them a time of joy and contentment will, in turn, bring you a sense of peace and happiness.