Treating PTSD with Massage

by Amanda Jewel DeJong

People who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) tend to have an imbalance of various chemicals in their brain such as serotonin, dopamine and cortisol, which affect one’s cognition, behavior and emotions.

Because these people tend to remain in the “fight or flight” response, their brain and physical body become flooded with these stress hormones, which may potentially cause physical pain and emotional distress on a continuous basis. If you or someone you know has been affected adversely by this condition, there is a non-pharmaceutical treatment that can help. Recent evidence indicates that Individuals who suffer from PTSD have demonstrated dramatic improvement on emotional and physical levels by implementing the use of massage therapy into their treatment regimen.

PTSD: The Facts
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is an illness characterized by extreme anxiety that tends to develop after exposure to one or more frightening events. These can range from serious injury, sexual assault, mental abuse, military combat, surviving at the site of a natural or man-made disaster, or even witnessing one of these types of events happening to other individuals. Although the majority of people who have faced these issues may have stress reactions temporarily, they usually will not develop into PTSD.

Symptoms include reliving the traumatic experience via nightmares and or flashbacks.

Certain sounds, sights, smells or even hearing of similar events can “trigger” the psychological and physical responses that were associated with the original event, which can conjure these distressing memories. Other common indications include negative changes in certain beliefs or core values, trouble concentrating, disrupted sleep patterns and being easily startled by loud noises.

Sufferers may try to avoid situations that remind them of the trauma such as watching movies, listening to certain songs, or being in crowds. Some victims may become overly active and even refrain from seeking help to keep from thinking about or confronting the initial incident.

Individuals who meet these criteria and tend to have symptoms lasting longer than four weeks to the point that it disrupts their daily routine or normal life should seek the help of a healthcare professional as soon as possible for further analysis and optimal treatment options.

How Massage Helps
Massage is a wonderful alternative therapy that has the potential to help because it has the ability to induce a feeling of tranquility by increasing the chemicals serotonin and dopamine while decreasing the amount of cortisol in the limbic system of the brain. By doing so, this can assist in alleviating the symptoms of stress, depression as well as anxiety. Once the ability to relax has been established, an individual will in turn notice a rise in circulation and energy, improved concentration, enhanced sleep quality as well as muscle tension relief.

This simplistic manipulation of muscle and tissue can alleviate many symptoms associated with PTSD. It’s best to find a trusted licensed practitioner to assist in recovery and incorporate massage therapy into a therapeutic plan of action. With this approach, suffers of PTSD most likely will see improved quality in their overall mental and physical health.

Amanda Jewel DeJong is a licensed massage therapist, transpersonal life coach, hypnotherapist and Reiki master. She has worked with most aspects of metaphysical practices for well over a decade and is currently obtaining a degree in holistic healthcare specializing in mind/body psychology with a major in hypnosis as well as spiritual studies. Email Amanda

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