Human beings need the physical presence and touch of others, yet we live in a society where touch has been sexualised, reducing its function to a prelude to what may come later. But, what about conscious touch? What happens when consciously touching another person is the goal in itself?
Non-sexual affective contact is said to reduce stress, lower the heart rate, and increase a feeling of well-being and bliss through releasing oxytocin (which can help reduce depression, anxiety and blood pressure.)
Conscious Contact workshops begin by creating a safe space, using dynamics that places the focus on what each individual feels inside themselves. Consent is imperative at a conscious contact workshop, i.e. cuddle session, especially at an event that includes such intimacy with not-yet-known people.
Conscious contact workshops are practised in a fun, safe and transparent way on how to set and react to boundaries. Once this is established, contact with others begins gradually. Each conscious contact workshop aims to seek unconditional well-being, where contact with certain individuals of the group is no longer sought nor rejected. It should be a moment of non-judgement in which the body limits blend with the abundance of care and affection given and received. There is no nudity at conscious contact workshops.
It is recommended to wear loose, comfortable clothing, pleasant to the touch. Monique van Steen, the facilitator of conscious contact workshops, is a 'psychodanza' therapist where she learned first hand about the healing powers of oxytocin. She also facilitates workshops on corporal awareness and the various levels of emotions, in small or large groups, at events and festivals. For more information or to register for a conscious contact workshop, please email [email protected].