First Culture

The Power of Touch | Mimi Mwiya

There’s a rush of happiness I get whenever a baby wraps their tiny little hand around my finger, or reaches for me or something. I also get feelings of deep trust and security when someone close to me holds my hands, in fact, there are times I consider hand-holding more intimate than kissing; I could have a full on snog fest with a man, but refuse to hold his hand because it’s too intimate, lol.

A good friend of mine recently decided to study the power of touch, as a healing tool. She made this decision because her partner, who suffers from extreme anxiety and had extreme sleeping problems, would sleep quite easily if she gave him soft back rubs before bed.

I recently found myself sharing a very tiny sleeping space with two other women. One of the women had a really bad wheezing cough, the first night I heard her coughing, I gave her back rubs and I noticed the coughing go down. On the second night, I heard her coughing, her back wasn’t to me, so I took her arm, put it around me, and stroked her hand. In a few minutes, the coughing stopped and she fell soundly asleep.

A number of cities across the world have what  is called ‘The Blind Dinner Experience.’ It’s basically a dinner in the dark, blindfolded. I don’t know how it’s done in other places,  but in Windhoek, the wait staff are all visually impaired, and you are encouraged to sit with people you don’t know. The idea (I think) is to experience how heightened your other senses are when you can’t use one of them.

But also to get a tiny glimpse of what is the everyday reality of visually impaired and blind people. Maybe I will have a separate post on the experience, today I want to focus on just one part of it. I shared a table with five strangers, and as we were talking  over dinner, I noticed one of the women kept touching  my arm, or reaching for my hand. After the dinner we went outside and all met each other in the light, she told me she did that because since we couldn’t see each other and she didn’t know if I was looking at her as we spoke, or if I was making eye contact, the touching was her way of telling me she ‘saw’ me, and wanting to be seen back.

Books have been written on the healing powers of touch, the massage business thrives because of the relaxing powers of touch and sometimes an ‘I love you’ is in the way someone touches you or holds your hand. I think one of the truest things said about human beings, is that we are physical beings.


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Mimi Mwiya

Mimi Mwiya

Munukayumbwa (Mimi) Mwiya is a floater who sometimes sits still enough to write.

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The Power of Touch | Mimi Mwiya

by Mimi Mwiya time to read: 2 min