Stress Relievers/Touch Forms
Worry stones/Fidget stones/Soothing stones/Sensory stones/Thumb stones/Prayer beads.
A visitor to my website likened my hand carved hearts to Native American worry stones, which prompted me to do a little research that helped me to understand the success of the hearts and why the psychologist was presenting her patients with my glassy smooth hand carved hearts for cognitive behavior therapy.
The Value of Touch
Recent scientific research has discovered some incredible emotional and physical health benefits that come from touch; these studies dealt mostly with human touch but my customers and recorded ancient customs have proven that it not only applies to the human touch but also touch forms, be it stone, ceramic, glass, or other materials.
“Touch is far more essential than our other senses….it’s ten times stronger than verbal or emotional contact”–(Saul Schanberg)
“The more we learn about touch, the more we realize just how central it is to all aspects of lour lives-cognitive, emotional, developmental, behavioral- from womb into old age, it’s no surprise, that a single touch can affect us in multiple. Powerful ways” –(Maria Konnikova-The Power of Touch)
“Touch signals safety and trust, it soothes. Basic warm touch calms cardiovascular stress, it activates the body’s vagus nerve, which is intimately involved without compassionate response, and a simple touch can trigger release of oxytocin, aka “the love hormone”–(greatergood,berkley.edu)
Native American Worry Stones.
I must thank the visitor for inspiring this blog by him introducing the subject of the worry stones. It is reported that Native American Indians carried stones in their bag or pouch and than handed them down to the younger generation in the belief that the younger generation would have a link to their ancestors, who they can ask for help during tough times. It was the ancestors who discovered the stones, by picking up a very smooth stone from the dust and started fiddling with it.
Touch forms were not limited to the Native Indians. The Buddhist and Christian traditions also played with stone beads in the form of rosaries or prayer beads which are rubbed between the fingers during special prayers.
In the principles of cognitive behavior therapy, worry stones help to support meditation and self-soothing exercises. They also help to counteract negative comforting habits like picking at something on the skin, pulling the hair or biting lips or nails (moonlightshop.com).
Just as my touch forms or hearts served in helping my fellow students to quit smoking. Worry stones and other touch forms help to release physical tension, ease worries, and anxieties, as did the relaxing use of the hands, instead of reaching for that cigarette.
Only yesterday, a couple visited the gallery and sternly instructed their children, two young girls, not to touch anything, as they were happily fondling the hearts that were on display. Naturally, I informed them that it was ok to play with the hearts. My 27 year-old daughter and 32 year-old son still travels with a doll or a blanket from their childhood. I know much older adults that still does the same.
There are many cultures, especially in Arab culture that has some kind of touch form, be it a strand of material, a worry stone, a strand of beads, or even one of my handheld art forms, for the sole purpose of relieving stress and anxiety.