Meet Beata Aleksandrowicz, an incredible international expert in massage and wellbeing and a firm believer in the healing power of touch. She has studied massage and touch therapy for over 25 years, has written two books about its benefits and teaches massage therapy in some of the world’s leading spa and wellness hotels (just a few reasons why we asked her for some simple massage techniques for our Hug in a Box tip cards!). But it’s Beata’s time with one of the oldest cultures on earth, the Kalahari bushmen in southern Namibia, that really moves us. ‘The power of touch transcends language, race and borders’ says Beata. ‘It makes us human’. Regular, positive touch is truly transformative. It can change people’s lives’ she says. Here, Beata translates the language of touch
As humans we need touch. On a physiological level, there is no better way of releasing tension from the muscles than through massage. It is a great remedy for aches and pains and can help the entire body function more efficiently. However, sadly, many people have lost a true sense of touch and its importance, even before Covid-19 appeared, we faced this problem. There was a stigma around touch that I felt I must address, plus a lack of education on what it means to us. When we touch, we communicate on a profound level. We become aware of our physicality but also feel a deep sense of belonging. We reach the core of our existence and communicate beyond language. We all want to feel the warmth of a hand on our shoulder after a long day, or a gentle stroke on our hand in moments of difficulty. Simple but essential connections when words are not enough.
As part of my research into touch, I visited one of the oldest cultures on earth, the Kalahari bushmen. In their village in southern Namibia, I learned about their healing traditions. When I first met the bushmen, there was silence - I did not speak the language and we did not know each other. I was given permission to touch them, first on the hands, then the arms, the shoulders, their heads and chests. Carefully and gradually, barriers began to disappear. The words which later emerged were given greater depth and meaning because they were instigated by touch.
Sitting there, under a tree in 40C heat with these extraordinary people, I realised that we are generally afraid of the unknown - and that, today, touch itself has become an unknown. To learn about it, we have to set aside our verbal framework and our prejudgments, and simply accept this silent form of communication. Even if you don't speak the same language, you will begin to understand one another. This is when true communication begins. The pearl inside each of us starts to shine. We begin to feel good, beautiful, important and loved. This is the power of touch. It transcends language, race and borders. It makes us human.
This experience has brought me to a deeper understanding of its power. My clients always emphasise how strong they have become - mentally and physically - since they have incorporated regular massage into their lives. They feel positive, healthy, much more aware of their body and posture, and more able to cope with the stresses of everyday life. But it goes much further. For me, it's the idea that touch is fundamental to all human interaction. Touch is the first sense to develop in the womb and is still active even when sight or hearing is lost. It gives us a sense of reality.
Learn Beata’s massage and touching-in tips in Hug in a Box and via The Face Whisperer live, online classes @beata_aleksandrowicz