In over 20 years as an educator, trainer and personal empowerment consultant, Dorothea Hrossowyc has led many workshops and classes in a variety of healing topics as well as the week-long intensive training in Rosen Method Bodywork and Empowerment. Committed to physical, emotional and spiritual well-being, all forms of human liberation are her lifelong passions.
The Importance of Human Connection | Dorothea Hrossowyc
The current explosion of research into mind/body methods and into how the brain actually works is exciting as it uncovers a whole understudied physiological system in the body, the study of human connection and of the physiological system that supports it. Some researchers call it the human connection system, or the social engagement system, and they are exploring the whole cascade of healing that can happen when this system is stimulated within the body/mind. It is not so unusual that this is just now being scientifically studied. We have the technological tools now, but it is also evolutionary. This is the part of human development we are in. What facilitates human connection? How can we understand it, and how can we use this system of protection in the body? What else do we have available besides the protection of going numb and unconscious, or using aggression, fight or flight? We can be conscious and connecting.
In the wonderful book by Thomas Lewis, et al, A General Theory of Love, we are reminded that contact and connection, or physical and emotional closeness and connection, actually affect the physiology of human beings in regulatory ways. From research with both monkeys and infants, Lewis tells us that we mammals need relatedness for our "neurophysiology to coalesce correctly."
It seems we are designed this way, for the shaping of physiological force of love and care and emotional closeness. A somatic concordance is not just normal but necessary for mammals, Lewis suggests.
We needn't despair. Special experiences later in life can provide neural lessons missed earlier. The opposite of stress hormones in the body is the oxytocin system, an understudied part of the human connection system, just beginning to get a lot of scientific attention. When adrenalin is high, the oxytocin sites shut down. Adrenalin is about firing up the musculature for fight or flight. Often intense physical tension and pain in the body is a result of this chronic activation and the result of a chronic production of stress hormones. Oxytocin is about calm, nourish, relax, restore, digest, connect—the TRUST system in the body. Swedish researcher Kirsten Uvnas Moberg calls it part of the calm, connection system in the body, an actual physiological system that is about stress release, pain release, and that plays a huge role in the recovery from disease and illness. In her book, The Oxytocin Factor, Tapping the Hormone of Calm Love and Healing, Moberg describes it as an open loop, one that feeds upon itself.
In true mind/body/spirit/emotional fashion, this healing cascade is stimulated largely by touch with other humans, by doing fun things, by being with other people, by connecting. And the more you have, the more you get, of all of it. Unfortunately, it is also stimulated by eating fatty foods, (comfort foods!) by nicotine and by alcohol. It is no wonder why these are addicting substitutes of something else the body needs.
So relationship through the healing cascade of the human connection system regulates and revises our neurological health and our physiological functioning. In loving and caring, in connecting through touch or otherwise, we modulate each other's emotions, neurophysiology, hormonal status, immune function, sleep rhythms, and stability. When you find someone who regulates you well, someone with whom you feel good, with whom you can share at least some physical closeness and touch, around whom you can revise, then stick with that person. For some of us it might be a spouse, or a lover, a dear friend, or friends, or the connectedness in worship. Pets can do that for us as well. Maybe it is your therapist, a person you see for bodywork or massage, your physician, or your bowling or hiking partners. Wherever you can feel a sense of connectedness, contact or touch, go for it. You are developing the healing cascade of your human connection system, something we need a lot more of in our world.
Dorothea's Contact Information:
Dorothea Hrossowyc, MA, RMPA
Rosen Method Bodywork, Somatic Healing and Empowerment Counseling
To order a set of 90 Letting Go of Old Belief Cards with instructions for use, $20; Or for a private phone session, contact Dorothea at or call (507) 645-1600