What is Comfort Touch®?
Comfort Touch® is a nurturing style of acupressure that gives special consideration to the physical and emotional needs of the elderly and/or ill client. Designed to bring the benefits of touch to a broad range of people, its primary intention is to provide comfort through techniques that promote deep relaxation and relief from pain. It is safe, appropriate and effective for those for whom conventional massage may cause discomfort or even injury.
Comfort Touch® is a valuable aspect of complementary health care that can be used safely and effectively in a wide variety of settings, including hospitals, hospices, home care and long-term care facilities. While it can be used to ease the physical and emotional pains of the elderly and those in medical settings, it can also enhance the quality of life for anyone in need of a caring touch.
Comfort Touch® can be given to anyone in any setting. A massage table or other special equipment is not required. It can be performed with the client in a wheelchair, in a hospital bed, a regular bed, in a recliner or in a chair.
Comfort Touch® does not require the use of oil or lotion, so that it is possible to work with the client who is fully clothed. Pillows and towels can be used to help position the client comfortably.
Six Principles of Comfort Touch®
The techniques of Comfort Touch® follow guiding principles which can be summarized by the acronym S C R I B E. Simply stated, the practitioner learns to Slow down to connect with the client, maintaining a clear intention to offer Comfort, with an attitude that is Respectful of the person being touched. Direct pressure is applied Into the Center of the part of the body being touched, with Broad, Encompassing contact.
While there is an apparent simplicity to this work, the practitioner will discover deeper layers of intricacy as they respond to the individual needs of each client.
In the practice of Comfort Touch® emphasis is placed on physical and emotional self-care for the caregiver. The use of proper body mechanics and patterning ensures the safety of the giver of touch; it is also essential to the effectiveness of this therapy for the client.
The following words deSCRIBE the intention, quality of touch and general principles of the techniques of Comfort Touch. It is:
SLOW – Relax and be in the present moment, letting your own breath be full and deep. Moving slowly creates a restful atmosphere and allows for a safe and appropriate experience for both the giver and receiver of touch.
COMFORTING – Make the person comfortable and offer a soothing, comforting touch. Your intention is to ease pain, not to try and cure or fix the person. The word “comfort” literally means “with strength.” To comfort also means to support and acknowledge the individual’s inner strength and resources.
RESPECTFUL – Maintain a respectful attitude toward your clients, and be sensitive to their feedback to your touch. A respectful attitude is compassionate and non-judgmental, contributing to a safe and healing atmosphere.
INTO CENTER – The direction of pressure in Comfort Touch is IN to the center of the particular part of the body you are touching. Pressure is applied perpendicularly to the skin, thereby preventing tearing of the skin or bruising of the tissues. This allows for a penetrating touch, even with light to moderate pressure.
BROAD – In general, all the techniques of touch are applied with a broad even pressure. This contributes to a feeling of soothing comfort and connection. Let the entire surface of your hand make uniformly evenly firm contact with the part of the client’s body you are touching.
ENCOMPASSING – Both hands work together to encompass the part of the body your are touching. Let your touch acknowledge the shapes and contours of the body. Encompassing touch contributes to a feeling of wholeness and contentment.