Understanding how Massage Therapy is beneficial to those who have suffered mental trauma can help anyone recovering from a traumatic event.
As massage and bodywork practitioners, you are in a unique position to assist clients in their recovery from possibly life-changing effects of unresolved physical, psychological and emotional trauma.
Massage therapy, the manual manipulation of soft body tissue to promote health and well-being, can provide relief from physical, emotional, and mental stress, and decrease levels of depression, anxiety, irritability, and other symptoms associated with trauma exposure. Massage therapy has also been found to help clients with PTSD-related dissociation to be more in touch with how certain emotions manifest in physical sensation, and experience comfort and safety in their body.
Trauma can have immediate and long-term effects. In the Adverse Childhood Experiences study of 17,337 adults, the CDC found that people who experienced significant childhood trauma died 20 years prematurely.
Massage is particularly relevant to trauma treatment because traumatized individuals often suffer from hyper-arousal and hyper-vigilance. In a state of stress and tension, their muscles may be constricted, and their bodies flooded with cortisol, a stress hormone that can be harmful with long-term exposure. Massage therapy has been shown to decrease cortisol levels while increasing hormones (serotonin and dopamine) associated with elevated mood.
Whether your patients are experiencing stress, anxiety or trauma disorders, work with them to see the best method of treatment. Massage Therapy can be a source of healing for anyone coping with trauma.