Aging and the Healing Power of Touch – by Patti Rice

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.

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The Small Things…

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We make lists all the time. To do lists, goal planning, what I want for Christmas, and grocery lists are just a few. All help us organize and plan out the near and far future but none relate to the moment you’re in. This month we would like to start you off with a small challenge: stop right this very moment and make a list of the things you are thankful for. (It’s best if you stop and take a deep breath before you begin.)

The month of November is a time of change, reflection and yes, thankfulness. We go about our busy schedules and rush to and fro most days, forgetting to take stock of the things we are rushing around for. It’s very important to remember the why of things as well as the hows. It keeps you focused, less stressed and much more happy.

It doesn’t have to be the “big” things in life. Being thankful for a quiet morning and a cup of warm, delicious coffee is not a minor thing. There are many people in this world that would see that very thing as an indulgence beyond belief. Yes, good health and financial security are also fine things to be thankful for, but no more so on a human scale than the bliss you feel when a loved one gives you one of those “I’m going to wrap you in my arms and make you feel how much I care” hugs.

We’re very thankful for you, the community we live in and the people we work with. Every day we get a chance to make you feel more fulfilled and happy. We get to remind you that you are important and taking care of yourself is not a luxury, but an important part of being the best you can be. Mostly, we are thankful for the opportunity we have to support wonderful people in their need for wellness, beauty and health.

So we say to you this month, pause and take stock of the “little” things. Because, really, they aren’t so little. They make up your life, and that’s a VERY big thing.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful November and a million little things to be thankful for!