I agree with Ed that "going there", touching, is a dangerous thing to do. Even if the client hasn't been abused before, in our society it could, and probably would, be perceived with suspicion. One leaves him or herself open to ethics inquiries. Thistles and thorns and bruises, oh no!
Still, I honestly believe the body manifests the self. It is not just a tool utilized to express one's self, but is congruent with the self and an integral part of the cycle of contact. Given that, and given that physical contact is so significant to human beings, how can we disparage physical touching so glibly; why is it just an automatic taboo?
Let's not polarize this thing too much, now; you don't HAVE to invade someone's body just to use touch with them. It almost seems like someone's introject, "Thou shalt not touch the client!" Hasn't anyone seen two people hug one another as a means of one helping the other to gain support? I recall once praying with a gay client during a counseling session. One of the most significant things I could have done was to take his outstretched hand in prayer during that moment. There's no way I would have refused to touch him.
While I am not advocating that we all run out and start massaging our clients' buttocks, I think touch within limits has a place in therapy. For me, personally, those limits can be reached very quickly, but I know of others whose ethical boundaries permit more, and I don't distrust the therapeutic value in what they do or the goodness of their morality. I think they make themselves vulnerable, but they probably also do some wonderful work (I just know I can't go to that precise place).
That's all. I am more sensitive to body processes than I used to be. I've seen clients suffer from body memories, and I've read of emotional memory that is processed sub-cortically (LeDoux, "The Emotional Brain"), which accounts for these body memories as understandable components of body process. It all fits with the wholistic aspects of Gestalt therapy theory. If clients can be stuck physically, why are we so handicapped as to limit ourselves from physical interventions in treatment?