Growing up, massage was not a part of my life. Touching played no role in my house at all. I think the last time I really hugged my mom as a child, I was 11 or 12. I look around me now and our lives are set up on remote: minimal interaction, minimal physical contact. We email work to say we're sick and text our girlfriend who lives across the street. In the U.S., comfort zone and personal space are key words we all understand, yet touch is such an essential part of life I wonder if it is geting lost in this high-tech, low communication world.

I recall going back to see my mother this past June. She was dying from cancer and she was such a frail semblance of her self. I held her hand and rubbed her legs continually. It seemed that I couldn't touch her enough and rarely strayed out of arms length. I found myself wishing that I had found my sense of touch when I was younger, instead of at the end of her life. My hands can still feel the softness of her skin and have a memory of her arms around me when we said goodbye for the last time. Massage is often much more than touch.

While working with an older female client, she shared that our sessions were the only touch she had in her life. I was quiet. She went on to say that she loved her husband but they had been together so long she didn't see the need to touch him and vice versa.

"I like our sessions because I don't have to do anything," she said. "Is that strange?"

There are as many reasons why people come to see me as there are people. It's not about wellness or health all the time. Sometimes it's just about the connection, the human interaction in a safe space. Within my four walls, while you lay on the table, warm and cozy with hot stones on your back, it may be the only time you really feel that doing nothing is okay. You don't have to: talk, laugh, work, please, smile, do. You simply are. You must simply be.

I have a client I've seen about eight times now, every two weeks. We don't speak at all, other than the initial greetings. She recently told me that the reason she comes back to me is because I don't pry.

"You've never asked me what I do, or even how I'm doing," she said. "You'd be amazed how rare that it is today."

It's never occurred to me to ask her what she does. It's none of my business, frankly. I just assume that if they want to talk and chat, they will. They do. But she took me off guard. Appreciating me simply because of something I don't do. That's a new one.

Sessions are about connection: I can have the most amazing skills ever, but if you don't like me, don't connect to me, you'll never come back. When I was younger I felt the need to talk to all my clients. Now that I'm older and I have a private practice, I understand how totally annoying I must have been. When it's a kicking day, I literally may not speak for hours at a time. It's a beautiful thing to give you permission to just be: just lay on table, don't help me, don't lift your arms or legs, just go to your zone if you can.

I overheard a conversation between two guys. One guy was talking about how he bought a shiatsu back massager because he thought he could save money on massage.

"Now I need a massage to work out the kinks this thing gave me," he said.

The other guy laughed and said, "Dude, some things just can't be replaced."

Human touch. Priceless.

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