Often times people with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) are considered those who come home from war, or work in highly stressful fields such as medical or law enforcement. The truth is, there are traumas experienced in regular life by regular people, who afterwards cannot find themselves again, and don’t know what exactly they are going through; they just know they’re not ok.
What is PTSD?
Time may seem to heal all wounds, but when it comes to PTSD, the trauma has settled itself into a part of the brain shielded from time. People with PTSD are not protected by the part of their brain that helps them forget and heal. Instead, when smells, sights, sounds, and feelings they experienced during the trauma present themselves at any given time, the person is quickly sent back to the scene of the trauma; experiencing the aspects of that original trauma as if it were happening in real time.
Signs and symptoms of PTSD (as noted by amtamassage.org) are:
- Hypervigilance (wariness of others) and hyperarousal (fight or flight response).
- Emotional absence and/or unresponsiveness.
- Avoidance of triggers that spring up memories of the trauma.
- Dreams, nightmares, insomnia.
- Difficulty in concentration.
- Irritability or outbursts of anger.
- Suicidal thoughts or gestures of self-destructive behavior.
- Exaggerated startle response or extreme ticklishness.
- Numbness or hypersensitivity to touch over parts or all of the body.
- Overwhelming feelings of anger, sadness, fear, despair, shame, guilt, or self-hatred.
- Migrating symptoms of physical pain.
- Migraines, fibromyalgia, extreme myofascial tension.
- Disassociation from self, actions, or parts of the body.
- Loss of connection with spiritual aspects of life or the ability to imagine a positive future.
- Distorted relations with the perpetrator or others who remind the client of the perpetrator.
A massage therapist is aware that with many clients who experience trauma, many times, the symptoms will align with depression. This is where the massage therapy, and type of therapy is essential to the wellbeing of the client.
How Massage Therapy Can Help
First and foremost, our client must feel comfortable with the massage therapist. The client and therapist should set out clear rules as to what is ok and what is not ok as far as touch. Touch is an extremely healing process, however if there is sexual trauma involved the therapist must take care in the client’s needs and wishes. Awareness of the limits and emotions will allow the therapist to carry on the massage effectively.
We offer many different options to help relieve the side effects of PTSD, and encourage you to consider massage therapy in conjunction with therapy that is already in place. Consult with your medical professionals and discuss with one of our skilled massage therapists how massage therapy can help you find your ‘normal’ self again.