by Diana Khoury
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is currently on the rise in the United States. PTSD is a mental health condition that originates from a traumatic event such as a war, natural disaster, terrorist attack, abuse, violence, or assault. Symptoms of PTSD may last for years after the actual event occurred, and can interfere with a person’s relationships and daily functioning.
When a traumatic event occurs, the body moves into fight or flight mode, triggering the stress response. If this stressful state remains for an extended period of time, the initial trauma becomes ‘stored’ in the body and is unable to let go.
PTSD’s effects are experienced on physiological, physical and emotional levels of the body. PTSD symptoms include: flashbacks, nightmares, trouble sleeping, anxiety, depression, detachment, difficulty with memory and concentration, fatigue and chronic pain. A PTSD sufferer may struggle with fear and hypersensitivity on a daily basis, reacting uncontrollably to seemingly benign triggers. They no longer feel safe or in control of their environment, their body or themselves.
A holistic approach to treating PTSD has been implemented at the Fort Bliss Restoration and Resilience Center in Texas. Army war veterans who wish to return to combat must commit to an intense daily regimen of physical exercise, individual and group therapy, and holistic therapies such as yoga, massage, Reiki, acupuncture, t’ai chi, qigong, biofeedback and meditation.
John Fortunato, the clinical psychologist who spearheaded the program, states, “Many PTSD-afflicted soldiers experience ‘hyper-arousal,’ which the center staff treats with techniques like medical massage and ‘Reiki’… Acupuncture has proven to be ‘extremely effective’ in treating the anxiety, panic, and tension-induced physical pain many [veterans] experience.”1
“Soldiers who have been victims of PTSD after violent wars are being treated with acupuncture [with] successful results. Recently, the Pentagon has been investigating the beneficial effects of acupuncture for PTSD on soldiers affected with this condition. As per findings from recent trials, it has been found that combat veterans were relieved of their symptoms and experienced reduced depression, as well as pain. The improvements due to acupuncture were also found to be very rapid and significant.”2
In addition to this empirical evidence, numerous scientific studies have confirmed the healing benefits of touch. For PTSD sufferers, therapeutic massage offers the benefits of caring touch with clear and safe boundaries. “Massage therapy can help bring clients back into themselves by increasing their ability to feel safety and mastery in the world, to be freely curious without fear, to feel comfortable with their body, and to experience boundaried intimacy with another human being.”3
This is an original article from Dreamclinic, Inc. Dreamclinic is a Health and Wellness company committed to sharing information about commonly experienced health conditions and how thy may be impacted through the use of bodywork and other natural approaches. Dreamclinic offers massage, acupuncture, and Reiki sessions at its Greenlake and Queen Anne clinics, as well as onsite massage at workplaces around Puget Sound. Contact us to learn more about how Dreamclinic can help you, your family or workplace experience greater health.