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Welcome to our weekly column, Reset. Written by Karen Taylor Bass, this column, published each Tuesday, is about life lessons learned and mastered mentally, spiritually, and physically and how they contribute to a successful life and career.

When was the last time you touched your spouse, partner, or child? Forget about intimacy. Let’s talk about holding hands, hugging and kissing.

We live in an anti-touch culture. There is a growing trend called touch deprivation where married couples are not having sex much less canoodling with one another. According to The New York Times, “It’s estimated that about 15 percent of married couples have not had sex with their spouse in the last six months to one year.”

Versandra Kennebrew, chief leader at VKI International, a certified holistic health coach says, “Touch deprivation is defined as suffering from poor, inadequate or loveless physical contact. This debilitating condition affects millions of Americans each day. Typical negative emotional effects that you may see in a person devoid of touch: irritability; anti-social behavior; aggression; depression; anxiety; and violent behavior.” Kennebrew recently released a free eBook, Art of Touch, where she teaches couples how to reconnect by allowing the blood, love and intimacy to flow.

I recently spoke with Versandra Kennebrew about how couples can press RESET and get re-connected.

MadameNoire: What was the turning point in your life that led you to your passion?
Versandra Kennebrew: I was a massage therapist, with a thriving company. However, after 9/11, many companies downsized and my services were no longer needed. I did not prepare for a rainy day, had a fancy office, a staff, no savings in the bank, no place to live and eventually became homeless.

MN: Where did you go?
VK: I was resourceful. I moved into a hotel that was in need of a certified massage therapist. I stayed there for 11 months, free of charge, and provided massage services for the hotel guests. My accommodations were not fancy, however, it gave me a roof, a life lesson in touch deprivation and a new mission.

MN: What do you mean by a life lesson in touch deprivation?
VK:  I learned that people regardless of socio-economics, have challenges with touching self. It can be due to religion, family, media and so forth. When left untreated, it festers, takes shape in relationships and how we relate to people in life and love.

MN: Why are we hearing more about touch deprivation now?
VK: Well, we now live in a microwave society. Children, have never seen their parents hug, kiss, laugh and they grow up not knowing how to give or receive touch. It starts at home – if a baby does not receive love, they will die; if a toddler does not receive love, they will have mental and growth issues. If an adult does not receive love, they become aloof and violent. I teach that touching and being touched is la matter of life and death.

MN: How do you help couples press RESET?
VK: I empower my clients to sit and write down their stressors. Next, we get introspective and find out about the person, then the couple. We talk about everything from childhood, diet, medication and career, to state of mind. Then we focus on meditation, creating a healthy and whole state and teach them how to incorporate the principles of touch by creating their own touch mastery.

MN: What do you teach couples through the Art of Touch?
VK: For the past 10 years, I have facilitated Art of Touch workshops at conferences, retreats, churches and home gatherings as a tool for couples and singles in search of practical ways to enhance bonding, communication and intimacy. It starts simply by teaching couples how to talk to each other in a responsive and loving tone. The Art of Touch teaches baby steps for life long intimacy.

Versandra Kennebrew’s Art of Touch Reset: Spouses who enjoys intimacy with one another live happier healthier lives! It is imperative that we stay committed to building healthy relationships to encourage optimal health.

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