Massage Helps Heal PTSD

As an HSP with PTSD, I spent a lot of years confused and stressed.

When I first had my “delayed onset” symptoms of PTSD I did not know what they were—still less that highly sensitive people tend to have an excess of the stress hormone cortisol and also often suffer from poor sleep.

I am not sure if it’s my HSP mind or just me, but I am the queen of connecting up the dots—so I soon realized my PTSD symptoms were connected to an early childhood trauma—surgery on my ears with not enough ether. (Ether is traumatic enough!)

But figuring that out that didn’t help me sleep and didn’t relieve the PTSD.

I was “hyper aroused”—although I didn’t know the term. I did know my ears were ringing but stopped if I was out in nature.

Doctors didn’t seem to know what to do. Unfortunately all they did was prescribe antidepressants. I was crying, so I must  be depressed.  Right?  I mean sadness is always a symptom. (Or not!)

Of course these strategies all interfere with sleep, so I was pretty frantic.

Massage To The Rescue

I was suffering so much that I started to look for solutions elsewhere. I sought the help of my chiropractor, who found a way to send me his massage therapist to my house every week, and billed my Blue Cross.

Boy was I lucky! This young man was not just a massage therapist, he was a healer. Bless him! I am sure, that his healing gift was one reason the massage helped my PTSD and insomnia.

Massage And The Healing Power Of The Laying On Of Hands

The beneficial effects of massage have been known since the beginning of recorded history. It was also called the “laying on of hands” by some and has an ancient and honored history. Essentially it heals through intention: if the intent of the person touching is to heal—healing is transmitted.

Although an ancient practice, massage is a currently a popular treatment for many conditions. On their website, the Mayo Clinic confirms the useful effects of massage therapy: “While more research is needed to confirm the benefits of massage, some studies have found massage may also be helpful for:

  • Anxiety

  • Digestive disorders

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Headaches

  • Insomnia related to stress

  • Myofascial pain syndrome

  • Paresthesias and nerve pain

  • Soft tissue strains or injuries

  • Sports injuries

  • Temporomandibular joint pain

Of course “research” is only ”needed” so insurance companies will cover this.

The Mayo clinic goes on to add

“Beyond the benefits for specific conditions or diseases, some people enjoy massage because it often involves caring, comfort, a sense of empowerment and creating deep connections with their massage therapist.”

Imagine that!

Fortunately, massage is now being researched. One example is from Oprah Winfrey’s website where she featured an article discussing the research of Mark Rapaport, M.D., the chairman of the department of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles:

 “[Neuroscientist] Rapaport’s curiosity led to a study, published last fall, that looked at 53 healthy adults who received one of two types of touch treatments. Blood tests revealed that those who had a Swedish massage with moderate pressure experienced decreases in stress hormones and increases in white blood cells, indicating a boost in the immune system. Meanwhile volunteers who had a “light touch” treatment showed higher levels of oxytocin, a hormone that promotes bonding. Based on the findings, Rapaport believes that massage might be effective in treating inflammatory and autoimmune conditions.”

No shit. Pardon my French.

I also had a few sessions of EMDR which helped me bring up the deeply buried pain and rage in way I could not have done alone.  According to the EMDR International Association,

“EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma.”

EMDR certainly helped. But massage? If I could have massage very week I don’t think I’d need any of the sleep meds I have. But the government does not provide massage.

More’s the pity.

Consider The Healing Benefits Of Massage

The good news for highly sensitive people is that many of the conditions that massage treats are ones that can affect us. Sometimes we even suffer from multiple conditions that are treatable with massage.

Given the extensive and proven benefits of massage, it is worth considering as a treatment for the various health conditions of highly sensitive people.

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Comments

  1. says

    I agree. I think processing delayed emotional reactions is best done through our bodies, which for example massage can provide, but also dancing to me where I get to express and release a feeling of a painful (or joyful) experience. So often PTSD-people are in our head, since that is where we try to make sense of it, yet it is our bodies that react and so it is thru our bodies we can restore balance.
    /Alexandra

    • Maria says

      Thanks, Alexandra,

      I like the idea of dance for healing. The one I have heard of is ecstatic dance but I would imagine that most if not all forms of dance are healing. Paying attention to the bodies state is definitely a clue to our healing needs.

      All the best,
      Maria

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