Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be caused by any event that is traumatic for the individual. Some significant traumatic events that can lead to PTSD symptoms include natural disasters, physical assault, domestic violence, sexual abuse, horrific accidents, military combat, and any other situations where an induvial is harmed, put in danger, or otherwise unable to fully deal with a traumatising experience. PTSD can lead to several physical symptoms including fatigue, chronic pain, and muscle stiffness along with psychological symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, depression insomnia, feelings of shame and guilt, and emotional detachment. This condition can be debilitating to deal with and there is currently no medication available targeting PTSD. Along with treatments such as EMDR (eye movement desensitising repetition) therapy, PTSD patients might find massage therapy to be beneficial. Here’s how a regular massage can help.

Soothe Aching Muscles

PTSD patients often suffer from chronic pain, which can be caused by an involuntary tightening of the muscles in response to trauma. Armouring occurs when a person tightens and stiffens their muscles as if preparing to face a threat, and with PTSD, this is often done involuntarily and is only noticeable when the muscles become stiff and painful. The book ‘The Body Keeps the Score’ details how our bodies hold on to trauma physically, leading many patients to experience chronic pain in areas like the back, neck, and shoulders, which might be made worse by office jobs and poor posture. Regular massage therapy helps to relieve some of this stiffness and allows the muscles to stay relaxed.

Promote Relaxation

No matter how stressed, anxious, and hypervigilant you might feel, it can be difficult not to feel relaxed when you are in a safe environment with a caring therapist, enjoying a massage. There are several different massage forms from massage Oxford therapists that you can choose to help you relax. Choose a trauma-informed massage therapist if you are worried about being touched in certain places or ask about the different types of massages available that will suit your needs. A good massage therapist uses a combination of aromatherapy oils and massage techniques to help ease the stress that your body is holding onto away.

Improve Sleep

If you have been suffering from poor sleep because of PTSD, scheduling a regular massage in the evening can be helpful. The process of massage can leave you feeling quite relaxed and sleepy, which can help you settle in to a night of quality and restful sleep when you get home. If massage helps you fall asleep, there are several self-massage techniques that you can use on yourself in between your appointments with calming, lavender-infused massage oil to help you relax and wind down, or ask somebody you trust to do it for you, such as your partner if you are in a relationship.

The symptoms of PTSD occur in response to any traumatic event and they can impact our lives in several debilitating ways. Along with treatments like EMDR therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, and mindfulness, massage therapy can be extremely useful for easing the physical symptoms of PTSD.

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