In the world we live in today, more and more people are being diagnosed with the condition known as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Though originally associated with military service men who have returned from active duty, PTSD has infiltrated all levels of society, affecting even children.
What Is PTSD
PTSD results in the ability of the individual to appropriately deal with traumatic experiences, and assign them to the past. The result is an ever-present sense of anxiety and dread, and frequently reliving the episode through flashbacks, undermining the feeling of safety and security.
Some of the manifestations of PTSD include angry outbursts, severe anxiety, nightmares, and lack of quality of sleep.
The good news?
Recovery is very possible, though challenging.
A combination of meditative techniques, anti-anxiety treatment, and massage therapy shows immense potential, and is key to helping the affected individual regain the peace of mind lost.
Unsure how massage therapy can help with PTSD? Read on and see if it may be a good fit for you.
Massage Therapy Can Help You To Relax
The feeling of living in 24/7 panic mode is enough to break anyone. For one, the adrenal exhaustion that results from the always elevated reflex of fight or flight is not normal, and ideally is recruited when your survival depends on it.
However, that’s not the case anymore, as trivial everyday tasks such as missing a train on morning commute can get your adrenaline pumping and unnecessarily increasing anxiety.
Massage therapy can help relieve the adrenalin response and not only tell your body it’s ok to relax but actually induce the relaxation response.
Massage Therapy May Help Treat Insomnia
Endless nights without sleep do no favors for helping relieve the ever-agitated state of an individual suffering from PTSD, hence, the need for techniques that promote restfulness.
Massages by a trained therapist can help alter the balance of neurochemicals in the brain, increasing expression of GABA (a key neurotransmitter for promoting restfulness) along with endorphins, which are key brain chemicals to combat the effect of adrenalin on the body, seeking to calm down neurons as the day progresses.
Can Treat Desensitization
When you’ve experienced life altering trauma (think of wars, mass murder, rape) your outlook on life is bleak. You’ve likely become desensitized from the pleasures of life, and find it difficult to enjoy anything. All you can do is worry, and worry begets more worry.
However, a specialized technique known as craniosacral massage therapy has proven extremely effective in helping reintegrate these individuals into society.
This technique involves massage therapy on the base of the skull, addressing the nervous system at this location.
Massage Therapy Can Help Improve Feelings Of Self Worth
Many sufferers of PTSD find themselves at fault for whatever happened to them, and refuse to forgive themselves. As such, feeling of self-worth drop, and they accept it.
Massage therapy can help stimulate the flow of energy in the body, known as qi, which reinvigorates the individual with life. It is believed that by removing blockages of qi emotions flow once again and sufferers are able to accept and move on.
Can Relieve Muscle Tension And Stress
Finally, the over-expression of adrenalin keeps the muscles in a state of hypertonicity, which can pave the way for injury, cramping and more. Chronic elevated levels of cortisol also wear down the body’s immune system, making the individual even more predisposed to injury and complications.
A simple massage session can reduce cortisol levels, reduce the tonicity of muscles, and improve blood circulation to deep muscle tissue. Researchers from the University Of Miami School of medicine found that levels of the stress hormone cortisol were lowered by as much as 53% following just one session of massage.
Though it is quite effective, many sufferers of PTSD find touch altogether stressful, and may not be open-minded going in. However, if you can help convince a loved one to try a session, it could be a step in the right direction.
The benefits of massage therapy on individuals suffering from PTSD are marked and significant. In fact, it should be considered an integral part of a joint approach, as it can accelerate progress of other treatment modalities