How Massage Therapy Helps to Alleviate Symptoms of PTSD

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is defined by the Mayo Clinic as “a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it.”(1) Simply put, those who suffer from PTSD cannot shut down the ‘Fight or Flight’ reaction in their brain which causes stress hormones to release and can cause continuous muscle tension. This disorder is most commonly thought to affect members of the Military who have been deployed, however PTSD can be caused by other traumatic life events including natural disasters, sexual assault or the sudden death of a loved one, among others.

PTSD symptoms can include flashbacks, aggressiveness and self-destructive behavior. Psychotherapy sessions, along with antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, are the typical treatments for PTSD. However, there have been studies showing that massage therapy sessions may be able to help relieve these symptoms.

So how does massage therapy from LaVida Massage actually help to alleviate the symptoms of PTSD?

According to a survey conducted by the American Massage Therapy Association, the top two explanations that people gave as reasons for receiving a massage were medical reasons (54%) and stress (23%).(2)   PTSD sufferers can fall into both these categories.

Massage has been proven to reduce cortisol levels and increase serotonin and dopamine levels. “By decreasing the guest’s cortisol levels with bodywork, a guest can reduce the constant feelings of hyper arousal and danger. By increasing serotonin and dopamine in the brain, an ease of suffering and anxiety is felt.”(3)

Paired with the psychotherapy sessions and medication, massage therapy has been shown to improve the recovery process of those who suffer from PTSD. Please speak to your licensed LaVida Massage therapist to discuss all your needs.

To connect with others who are affected by PTSD or to get help with PTSD, check out PTSD United at www.ptsdunited.org.

  1. Mayo Clinic Staff (2014, April 15). Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Retrieved April 24, 2015, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/basics/definition/con-20022540
  2. Consumer Survey Fact Sheet. (2014, October 1). Retrieved May 6, 2015, from http://www.amtamassage.org/research/Consumer-Survey-Fact-Sheets.html
  3. Wall, D. (2010, December 1). Massage Combats PTSD. Retrieved May 6, 2015, from http://www.massagetoday.com/mpacms/mt/article.php?id=14328