By: Guest Blogger, Jessica Slager LMT
As a Licensed Massage Therapist, I find my greatest satisfaction is in helping people who are suffering from emotional trauma, PTSD, physical limitations and/or have some other special emotional or physical needs.
Massage therapy can help people feel comfortable, by providing a safe environment where they can receive touch and healing for their body and soul. As a massage therapist, I also help teach people safe and effective self-soothing and stress reduction techniques. Massage can be very beneficial for people who are receiving talk therapy with a trained professional, as well as those who are struggling with disassociation.
According to PTSD United, approximately 24.4 million people are suffering from PTSD at any given time. Long term effects of dealing with either PTSD or trauma can include sleeplessness, flashbacks, depression, anxiety, anger, chronic pain, fatigue to name a few. Massage therapy can actually help to “retrain the brain.” No matter if the trauma is emotional or physical, large or small, it causes a reaction between the mind and body’s autonomic nervous system. This results in a “flight or fight” response. Even long after a trauma has occurred, the subconscious mind still remembers. Retraining the brain doesn’t happen over night -it takes time for the brain to form new pathways.
As reported in Massage Today, massage sessions result in positive biochemical changes in the body, such as increased serotonin and dopamine. The over all effect of this is a noticeable reduction in feelings of fear and anxiety. Studies also show trauma clients who receive massage therapy have up to 30% lower cortisol levels after the massage, and they showed a significant reduction in physical pain, tension, anxiety, worry and depression.
During a massage, the therapist addresses muscles, tendons and soft tissues in the body. Massage can help to work out knots and stress, relieve pain and increase flexibility. Compassionate human touch stimulates positive feeling hormones in the body and starts the relaxation process. Relieving stress, decreasing anxiety, reducing depression and improving personal mood are all positive outcomes massage may provide.
Nicholas Garman, LMT NSCA-CPT