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xxl: 1500 – +
Adriana Lestido, 1995

It’s so easy to overlook the simple gesture of touch. But by stimulating our touch receptors, we can open the door to a whole world of healing potential. Touch is the first sense we develop, and as humans we crave it. It doesn’t just connect us with objects and others, it allows us to foster a deeper connection with ourselves too.

A signifier of safety and trust, touch activates the parasympathetic nervous system via the vagus nerve, helping to move us into a rest and digest state, where we are able to let go of inner tension, better digest our food, and even heal more efficiently. It serves as a bridge to lower blood pressure, bolstered immune health, and reduced cortisol levels, while simultaneously increasing feelings of comfort, confidence and calm.

Jean-Phillipe Joseph

Tapping to ground

The Emotional Freedom Technique, otherwise known as EFT or tapping, was first explored by a group of doctors in the 1970s as a form of psychological acupressure, designed to treat stress, anxiety and pain. Drawing on the Chinese tradition of acupuncture, tapping stimulates various acupoints through touch repetition. Using the fingertips to literally tap different energy hot spots, it’s an easy and accessible practice that you can perform on yourself at any time. Tapping is thought to restore balance to the body by sending impulses to the limbic and cortical regions of the brain which control fear and stress, interrupting the neural pathways that cause anxiety and tension in the body. There are many in-depth tapping videos to be found online. For a simplified option, we recommend the below…

How to

1. Working with the breath point is a gentle way to bring ease to the body and mind – a way to ground and release anxiety, as well as alleviating any chest tightness or digestive issues that chronic stress and anxiety can cause.

2. To locate the breath point, find that spot between your clavicles, where you feel a dip at the base of your throat. It will feel slightly tender to touch.

3. Breathe deeply, in through the nose and out through the mouth, tapping (or massaging) the breath point. Aim to bring each inhalation directly into your belly. As you do so, your breath should start to feel deeper and more relaxed.

4. Repeat until you begin to feel yourself unwind.

Charlotte Rudolph, 1928

Ayurvedic head massage to release tension

Indian head massage (champissage or champi) was first documented in Ayurvedic writings around 600BC. In the practice of Ayurveda, it is believed that the body holds 107 marma points, or areas of concentrated energy, which, when stimulated, can have a positive effect on both our physical and mental wellbeing, with the ability to actually change our biochemistry for the better. Marma therapy is said to influence everything from the health of our organs to the production of our hormones. A simple head massage can activate some of these points, increasing circulation, releasing tension and bringing us back to centre.

How to

1. Beginning between the eyebrows, at the point also known as the third eye, apply a light pressure with one finger, slowly moving in a circular motion.

2. Now, using your thumbs, move to the temples and continue to work in small circular motions.

3. Working up and back from the temples you’ll find Adhipati, which is located at the top of the scalp. Massage once again in a circular motion.

4. Finish at the base of the head, where the neck begins. Apply a light pressure here, allowing the head and neck to fully relax.

Carmen Winant, Instructional Photography: Learning How to Live Now

Dry brushing to balance

Dry brushing is an ancient practice called garshana (gar-shun-uh), which involves ‘sweeping’ the body with a bristle brush in expansive upward movements. Usually practised before showering, dry brushing stimulates the nervous system and supports the detoxification of the skin by sloughing away dead cells, as well as invigorating blood and lymph flow. This is particularly important because, unlike the heart, the lymphatic system (the body’s cellular sewage system) doesn’t have its own pump, relying on us to put in a little elbow grease to get things going. While exercise, massage and breathwork are excellent lymph activators, dry brushing also helps to flush out toxins and debris. Furthermore, it’s a great way to mindfully check in with yourself. Notice how each area is feeling as you sweep, connecting with any emotions or sensations that arise, and noticing the different parts of your physical body, so often taken for granted.

Think of the dry brush as your fuss-free bathroom multitasker. It’s affordable, portable and gets the job done in just a few minutes.

How to 

1. Begin at your feet, sweeping the brush up your limbs towards the heart. Stokes should be long, firm and confident.

2. When you reach any joints, use small circular motions before continuing upwards.

3. Move from your legs to your stomach, followed by your arms, always working towards the heart. At the stomach, sweep the brush in a clockwise direction.

4. Follow with a shower to rinse away any dead skin cells, then moisturise and hydrate damp skin with a replenishing self-oil-massage. For this, our All-Over-Oil is ideal!

Luis Delgado Qualtrough, Escoba, 2019