Touch is a basic nutrient for survival. It is so essential that when babies are deprived of it they die.

Touch is the first sense that develops inside the womb (and it is probably the last one to go before we die). Your skin can sense touch at just 9 weeks of gestation. During the first 9 months of your life you are constantly being rocked and massaged by your mother’s body. Birth comes as a shock when you are propelled into the harsh world and wrapped up in clothes, nappies and blankets. The constant soothing surroundings of the womb are never fully replaced and from that moment on tension starts building up in your nervous system.

The need for human touch was never investigated till the 1930’s. Up until that point the death rate for orphans under 1 year old in America was nearly 100%. All babies wasted away even though they were being fed. This continued to happen until a doctor visited a children’s clinic in Germany where he saw a fat old lady shuffling around with babies clinging to every part of her. When a baby didn’t improve after doing everything medically possible, it was handed over to Old Ana. She simply carried the babies around with her and they always started to thrive. The idea of mothering/nurturing touch was taken back to the US where it was introduced into the orphanages with good success.


More recent studies have shown that premature babies who were massaged for 15 minutes 3 times daily in their incubator gained weight 40% faster than others who were left alone. Those babies didn’t eat more; the weight was solely due to the effect of being touched by a human being.

Another study in human behaviour in different cultures discovered that low levels of infant touching and high levels of violence go together. That’s pretty sad isn’t it? Luckily the research didn’t stop there but the scientist took it one step further. They investigated whether introducing loving touch into these societies would drop the level of violence and it did!

This proves that it is never too late to make touch an integral part of your life. Remember you were a baby once! One thing that never changes is the memory of being rocked, soothed and protected in the womb and the other one that remains the same is skin hunger. Our skin is the largest organ of the body. It is covered in sensory nerve endings which are crying out for touch just like those babies in the orphanages in the US. We are so unaware of this need that we don’t even know what is wrong with us, why we always feel needy and discontent till one day we receive a massage. Suddenly we feel so right, so satisfied that we can’t believe how we lived without this feeling for so long. And you are right; you were probably only half alive during all those massage deprived years!

We all know that Hippocrates, the father of Medicine wrote: ‘let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.’ Not many realize that he also told his students: ‘the physician must be experienced in many things, but most assuredly in rubbing.’ Somewhere the health care system has lost ‘touch’ of the need for human touch in detecting and healing sicknesses. It has gone high tech and low touch. Doctors never have to touch their patient anymore. I wonder what Hippocrates would say if he stepped into a modern doctors surgery now? (PS: I am not blaming the GP’s who work harder than ever. They are caught up in the medical system too)


In China, Germany, India and Japan, the therapeutic effects of massage have been recognised for many years. Massage therapists work alongside doctors as part of the health care team. In Germany doctors will prescribe massage treatments as readily as a bottle of anti-depressants, and that massage is covered by their national health insurance plan. The government probably realises that the cost of therapeutic massages is saved a hundred times over by the lowered levels of crime.

There is no better way to restore your nervous system, relieve aches and pains and boost your energy levels than to spend an hour on the massage table. Our therapists are truly gifted: not only do they massage, they are trained to be highly sensitive to the energy flow in your body. It is easy for them to pinpoint problem areas, to move stagnant energy and get rid of pain. Hippocrates would be very happy with my team today! They work with your body, not against it.

Other than massage they specialise in oriental cupping, cranio-sacral therapy, Bowen, Horstmann, Kinergetics, reflexology, blood analysis, diet & nutrition and more….Talk to our friendly receptionist on 64283007 to discuss your needs and to find a time slot that suits you. Gift vouchers are available too. To check out all the different therapies we offer click here.

See you at the Purple House, Tasmania’s most versatile health centre. However if food is more important to you than touch, I will see you in Alchemy! Did I mention our new menu? Have a look at it on www.alchemycafe.com.au and check out the articles, recipes and fermenting classes as well! Grada.