Military veterans can face a host of health concerns upon returning from service, from chronic pain related to physical injuries, to emotional and psychological issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
It’s well-established that massage therapy can help reduce stress and depression, as well as help manage pain. It’s no surprise then that massage therapy can be beneficial to military veterans and the unique challenges they might face. Share with a veteran who could benefit from this information in honor of Veterans Day!
The Benefits of Massage Therapy for Military Veterans
Reduced anxiety, worry, depression and pain
Research published in Military Medicine reports that military veterans indicated significant reductions in ratings of anxiety, worry, depression and physical pain after massage therapy. Analysis also suggests declining levels of tension and irritability following massage.
Achieve greater mind-body awareness, reduced pain
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by the intrusive re-experiencing of trauma, avoidance and emotional numbing and hyperarousal of the sympathetic nervous system. A study on female veterans shows massage therapy can have positive benefits by reducing pain and promoting greater awareness of the mind-body connection.
Help the symptoms of disassociation
Research also indicates massage therapy may be effective for those clients who experience dissociation as a symptom of PTSD, allowing these clients to experience a more coherent sense of self, which for some is a primary reason they initially seek out massage therapy.
What Military Veterans Should Consider When Getting a Massage
- If you have health conditions, check with your physician before beginning massage therapy. Consider working with a mental health professional, especially if there is a history of trauma or PTSD.
- Talk to your massage therapist about what you hope to achieve with massage therapy, and together outline an approach.
- Communication is vital. Always let your massage therapist know what your expectations are, and communicate if you are uncomfortable at any point during the massage.