Caring for our bodies is about mental health.
The body remembers as much as the mind does—maybe more. A therapist friend suggests that the body holds every wound it has ever received—not only physical wounds, but emotional wounds as well. She believes that those wounds need to be identified with touch and released so that the flow of the body’s own rhythm can be free to be a healing presence.
The body holds all its sensations--pain and pleasure. People who know child development suggest that the way a child is touched and cared for in the early days and years, maybe even in the uterus, profoundly affects the child’s emotional and psychological well-being the rest of the person’s life. The body has a memory and it continues to know when it has been fed with sweet or sour touch.
So take care of the body. Nurture the five senses. Diane Ackerman writes of human life as sensate. She examines how the five senses function to form us. She says, “The senses don’t just make sense of life in bold or subtle acts of clarity, they tear reality apart into vibrant morsels and reassemble them into a meaningful pattern. . . .The senses feed shards of information to the brain like microscopic pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.” (xvii)* She goes on to says that we need to explore the textures of life because only “ghosts are pictured as literally being out of their senses.” If we are alive and conscious, we are deeply present to our sensory selves. In fact, we cannot be whole until and unless we operate fully present to our bodies.
Ackerman: “To understand, we have to ‘use our heads,’ meaning our minds. Most people think of the mind as being located in the head, but the latest findings in physiology suggest that the mind doesn’t really dwell in the brain but travels the whole body on caravans of hormone and enzyme, busily making sense of the compound wonders we catalogue as touch, taste, smell, hearing, vision.”* (xix)
So, take care.
Diane Ackerman, The Natural History of the Senses