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To Your Health

A Healing Touch

Al Trace


In the age of social media, when a family is all gathered in one space—not to talk, but to all be on various electronic devices—and when husbands and wives text each other from one area of the house to another, what role does touch play? Can massage play a role in a society of silent communicators, who rarely make eye contact, much less touch each other? The importance of touch has been known for centuries; yet in what is considered to be an enlightened age, it is used less now than ever.

The Great Physician used touch to bring healing to people. But was that just a symbolic act, an act of kindness, or did the touch itself play a role in transmitting healing? I cannot answer that question. But I do believe we are to imitate Christ. So if He touched people, then so should we. Recent studies have also shown touch can improve health by helping to lower blood pressure, reduce migraines, and lower blood sugar in diabetics, just to name a few. Studies done at the University of Virginia, the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Stanford University, and the Cleveland Clinic all show that touch has a positive influence on healing.

At the Black Hills School of Massage, it’s our desire to train men and women to not only bring healing through massage, but to share the Good News of the gospel with those in pain. We believe that the gift of touch is a talent given by God, and one He expects us to develop and use just as much as the talent to preach or teach. Consider the following: “However small your talent, God has a place for it. That one talent, wisely used, will accomplish its appointed work. By faithfulness in little duties, we are to work on the plan of addition, and God will work on the plan of multiplication. These littles will become the precious influences in His work. Thus, through the right use of our talents, we may link ourselves by a golden chain to the higher world. This is true sanctification: for sanctification consists in the cheerful performance of daily duties in perfect obedience to the will of God” (Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 360).

Black Hills School of Massage is the only Adventist massage school in the US. It is one of a few faith-based schools that does not teach New Age concepts but seeks to uplift God’s plan for health and healing and teach ministry along with massage.

My wife had a client in a spa where we sometimes work who came from a very abusive relationship. During the massage, she shared a lot of personal information with Bren, including the fact that she lived in a small town and had little support. Bren asked her if she had any belief in God or support from a local church. She had neither.

I have had clients from preachers to extreme sports fanatics and people battling issues they have had for years. Of course, I find it rewarding to have someone say they are pain free for the first time in weeks or that they are very relaxed. But it is sharing both health and spiritual principles that I find most fulfilling.

As the director of a massage school, I am doubly blessed to develop relationships with clients as well as with our students. I enjoy hearing how they are touching lives in their work and am honored to reconnect with them after they graduate, as we did just recently with one of our students during a layover in Tokyo on our way to Vietnam.

Though we strive to help our students develop a deeper relationship with Christ, they often teach me more than I think I am teaching them. Their enthusiasm is contagious and ignites fires wherever we take them to offer chair massage in public gatherings. On campus and in our local church, they bring that same fire and enthusiasm.

What a privilege to be involved in the daily work of helping others attain healing while linking “ourselves by a golden chain to the higher world.”