Let’s be honest, modern medicine in our country is full of contradictions. And with big pharmaceuticals pushing their medications on the weak minded with their advertising it’s no wonder that opioids are ranked along side alcohol for most abused substances and contributes to higher mortality rate. If you watch the commercials for many of these drugs the side effects are very severe; most even include death (yikes!). It’s also no secret that veterans make up a huge chunk of our homeless population and are most definitely not receiving the care that they deserve.
However, it’s not just our military that has PTSD or has suffered trauma. In fact trauma is not as rare as you might think.
-Roughly 50% of women and 60% of men have experienced at least one traumatic event during their lifetime
- It is estimated that 70% of adults have experienced trauma; 20% develop PTSD
-Women are most likely to experience sexual assault or child sexual abuse
-Men experience trauma primarily through accidents, disaster, physical assault, or to witness death/injury.
We know that exercise improves cognitive function and self-esteem. Can movement help those who have suffered trauma or have PTSD? Absolutely. And it’s pretty risk free you just need to get the all clear from your primary doc (especially if there are injuries involved).
By focusing intensely on your body and how it feels will help the nervous system become “unstuck”. This could mean something as simple as walking; concentrating on your gait and the placement of each foot as you take a step. Being aware of where your body is in space is also a part of this. Endorphins not only make you feel better but aid in concentration and mental sharpness. Exercise also stimulates new brain cell growth and prevent age-related decline.
Muscles hold onto memories and emotions when our brain just doesn't want to deal with in the moment. Sometimes during massage when a muscle releases there can be a flood of emotions along with it. This is a normal response and often rare. Massage therapists are trained to be aware of this and to act accordingly. Massage can help with the transition after a traumatic event and assist the individual with finding a new normal.
I encourage those that are suffering from PTSD and trauma to research more healthy options to help you in your treatment instead of turning to pills. Pills just mask the symptoms and do not treat the cause. Counseling should also be considered.