Massage therapists and practitioners help clients every day with their physical woes but did you know massage can also potentially be a tool in the battle against unresolved physical, psychological, and emotional trauma – check it out.
When someone experiences a trauma, it has an effect on them mentally as well as physically. Trauma can in fact be stored in the body as a physiological response. This can lead us to long-term chronic injury and sometimes worse. Trauma can be anything from a car accident or medical procedure-related injury to physical, sexual, or emotional abuse.
According to a study published by the CDC, surveying more than 17,000 adults, people with significant childhood trauma died 20 years prematurely suggesting there is something deeply wrong with how the body interns trauma.
As someone goes to therapy to get rid of the mental effects of trauma, rarely do we think of the possible benefits of massage in remedying the physical effects. Think about what our body does when it perceives a threat. A ‘fight or flight’ response is turned on. If we do not protect ourselves and fight back, the body goes into a shock reaction and is immobilized. Physiology slows, heart rate decreases, breathing goes shallow, and muscles go limp.
In a sense, this is chronic hyper-activation of our muscles. When hyper-activation comes from emotions, it results in our bodies not wanting to ever release the muscle. Canadians struggling with this usually present with very rigid and unresponsive muscles, and may see pain symptoms increase with every session. Thankfully, there are massage therapists out there with a background in handling trauma victims, including those suffering from PTSD, anxiety, and depression.
Some Canadians are not even aware they have trauma locked into their muscles. Symptoms however can include grinding teeth, chronic pain, insomnia, muscle spasms, headaches, and muscle tone issues. Massage therapy can help. The safe release of trauma from the body can happen with time and an experienced helping hand. For this reason, some patients may report feeling a sudden sensation of heat, trembling, or an emotional response. These are all normal responses to trauma energy being released.
A massage therapist working with PTSD victims is going to focus on calming the nervous system through manipulation of responsive areas on the body. The process can be slow however in repeated sessions, it may be possible to release areas that you never thought possible.
The point we ultimately want to make is that if you suffer from PTSD, anxiety, or depression, massage from an experienced massage therapist can help. It takes time and patience however it’s an aspect of recovery that should not be forgotten about.