Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Are you Ticklish?

The Ticklish Client – and what you can do… A ticklish client won't be able to relax, preventing them from gaining the full benefit of the session. Ticklishness is a sensation and subsequent response separate from pain, itch or pressure. In general, touch receptors interpret skin sensation, by translating movement or distortion of the cell membrane. A lack of understanding surrounds the tickle sensation because it is not one of the currently known touch receptors, which include temperature, pain, light pressure and deep pressure. Acquiring sensitivity to ticklish stimuli might have been useful in our evolutionary past, says Robert R. Provine, a professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Maryland. Highly ticklish locations are parts of the body most vulnerable to injury, such as our feet, neck, chest and armpits. For example, feeling a tickle would have warned us if a poisonous scorpion was crawling along our neck. When it comes to a ticklish response during a session, a number of factors can come into play: · Uneasiness with unknown touch · Excessive or stagnant energy in the area being worked Common ticklish areas include Arch (spinal reflex), Kidney/Adrenal reflexes, and particularly – toes! Tips 1. Communication is most important – explaining what you are going to do, how, and where – so they’ll know just what to expect. This can include your willingness to avoid that particular area if needed. 2. Pressure modification - In general, slowing, broadening and increasing your pressure in that particular area will reduce ticklishness, reducing the element of suspense that initiates many tickle responses. Something else to consider is that the release of the emotional component creating the tickle response can be a healing event. Because ticklishness is often a protective mechanism, focusing on such an area can promote a powerful release. While most therapists are accustomed to emotional releases in the form of tears, laughter can be just as effective. -Nancy Bartlett

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