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Healthy Relationships & Touch

Healthy Relationships

Healing isn’t always about what we put in our mouth. Food is just one source of nourishment. We are fed by the richness in our lives as much or more than the food we eat. 

Healthy relationships, physical activity, a rewarding career and a spiritual practice are soul satisfying and critical in having a balanced and truly healthy life. As a Holistic Health Counselor from the Institute for Integrated Nutrition, we call these Primary Foods. They are the richest source of nourishment we have. Actual food we eat, is called Secondary Food. 

When we are starved for joy, affection, mental stimulation, self expression, adventure and spirituality, we often comfort ourselves with foods. In that starved emotional state we don’t always make the healthiest choices. 

Emotional depletion is very commonly the underlying cause in obesity, anorexia, depression, anger, high blood pressure and yes, I’m going to say it.....extreme orthorexia as well.  

I’ve noticed when working with my counseling clients that if there is an underlying emotional issue it’s not going to heal with kale alone. When you feed the soul, physical challenges often heal on their own.

We as humans have a need for touch, intimacy, open communication, cuddles and hugs. We need to be able to give and receive love. Having healthy friendships, a romantic relationship and loving interactions with family members provide a beautiful way to express love, joy, intimacy, adventure and compassion. 

Take some time to explore your relationships. Look at family, friends and your intimate relationship. Be honest. Do they bring you joy and fulfillment? Are they reciprocal? Is there a depth and richness to them? Or are they a one way road? Emotionally draining?

Are there people in your life that just don’t FIT anymore? I invite you to evaluate these relationships much like you would if you were preparing for a yard sale. What is no longer needed or working for you. As you are honest and compassionate in allowing relationships that no longer “fit” to leave your life, you will be amazed at how people show up that now you have space for.

I’m not suggesting you go file for divorce or cut your family out of your life. Look for ways to heal, forgive, rekindle affection, joy or improve communication. There always needs to be room for flexibility and growth in all our relationships. Life would get boring if we all stayed the same. 

Now, here’s the kicker. Sometimes if you are honest with yourself, you may find the imbalance may coming from you. If that happens use the same honesty, integrity and compassion for yourself. Journal your thoughts and feelings. Get clear on a resolution.


Touch is a powerful healer. Touch is the first sense to develop in the womb. It’s also the only sense that involves our entire physical being, the rest of the senses happen in your head. Touch has been proven to reduce tension and anxiety. 

Along with cultivating deep, meaningful relationships, receiving bodywork such as massage is another way to nurture yourself. Having been a massage therapist for 20 years, I in no way, see massage as an indulgence. It is a powerful healing therapy that has tremendous health benefits on every level.


One of the most powerful forms of healing bodywork I have been blessed to practice is called Watsu. Watsu is a form of aquatic bodywork performed in warm water. You are held, cradled, floated and stretched by your therapist. There is a deeper healing going on in watsu. Yes, you relax, your body is stretched and massaged, but there is a spiritual aspect that nearly transcends the physical benefits. 

Being lovingly held in someone’s arms with no expectations is such a powerful healing and nurturing experience. I often have clients cry or laugh.    

There are so many forms of bodywork. Taking the time and making yourself a priority is a wonderful way to destress, be nurtured and heal your body, I encourage you to find a massage therapist, watsu therapist (please see www.waba.edu for practitioners.)

So take a deep breath and start to explore your relationships! Think of the joy and freedom that will be available to you as you bring fulfilling relationships into your life! Go get a massage or a watsu! After all one needs more than green smoothies to survive!

In Love and Health, Lori Clayton, LMT, CHHC