The Role of
Over the last couple of years, we have had to adapt our routines, skills, and social interactions. The lack of social interaction was one of the toughest. As humans, we need to have physical contact, which could be shaking hands or a hug. It is also necessary for us to be able to see facial expressions; this has the ability to make us feel safe and connected with friends and strangers.
There is a highly regarded book by Stephen Porges called 'The Polyvagal Theory', which is primarily about our nervous system and how it can affect our physical and mental states.
In the polyvagal theory, they use the term 'co-regulation'. It explains how we can gain so much from being in the presence of someone who cares for us. With that feeling of security, we radiate the same feelings back. It is a synergetic relationship.
This term highlights the benefit of connectedness with other people, and if the interaction is co-regulated, this will promote a healthy physical and psychological state. The term also explains a small but very important part of Shiatsu on a physical and energetic level.
When you feel as though you are in a place of safety, held by a loved one, a friend, or the touch of a treatment with compassionate, positive regard, it can assist in the calming of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). This is the involuntary physical part of you, like your heart rate, respiration, and digestion. It is the contact in the treatments that brings a level of reassurance and engages the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which creates the space for healing to begin. The meaning of the word 'healing', is to restore wholeness. Like the reconnection with your deeper intelligence to allow thoughts and ideas to arise within you, which could initiate a positive action. This could be making a firm decision, finding a new direction that benefits your wellbeing, or appreciating self.