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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (commonly known as PTSD)

is a psychological condition caused by experiencing, or being exposed to, a traumatic event. Such events may be, but are not limited to, physical and/or sexual violence, natural disasters, serious accidents, and war. While PTSD was first formally identified in veterans of the American Civil War, it may occur in people of any background and age.



A related disorder is Complex PTSD (C-PTSD). While PTSD is caused by an acute traumatic experience, C-PTSD is thought to be caused by the experience of trauma, particularly abuse, over a period of months or years. People who experience physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse as children are thought to be more likely to be diagnosed with C-PTSD.


Symptoms of PTSD and C-PTSD

PTSD and C-PTSD present with similar symptoms, which can range from mild to severe. These may include:

  • Persistent unwelcome thoughts or recollections, including flashbacks to traumatic events
  • Negative thoughts, inability to experience positive thoughts, emotional detachment, self-hatred
  • Avoidance of anything reminiscent of the traumatic event or events, including memory loss about the event(s)
  • Hyperarousal, including difficulty sleeping, stress, irritability, jumpiness, panic attacks


PTSD is a complex disorder, and successful treatment is similarly multi-faceted. As the condition varies from person to person, a different combination of treatments may be tried before the right mix is discovered. Current treatment for PTSD may include cognitive therapy, medication, and, increasingly, unexpected (novel, etc) therapies such as massage, yoga and mindfulness.



Many of the most common symptoms of PTSD can be significantly reduced or alleviated by a massage. Specifically stress, lack of sleep, and hyperarousal, as massage increases levels of serotonin and melatonin, hormones that promote relaxation and better sleep. While studies are ongoing, early indications of a medical usage of massage in PTSD treatment is encouraging. Studies have shown that survivors of sexual abuse saw a reduction in PTSD symptoms after a massage. In a study conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs, participants found that massage improved their mood, reduced irritability, and increased quality sleep, all useful for PTSD treatment. Massage can help improve mental health by a mile. If you know anyone who suffers from PTSD book them in to see a remedial massage therapist!

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