Massage therapy can be a beneficial addition to the healthcare routines of many different members of the community. From athletes to children and even infants, massage has been demonstrated to be an excellent complementary treatment and relaxation tool. For many massage therapists, helping their patients is an incredibly rewarding experience. They enjoy seeing the benefits that massage can offer, and how their patients respond to a massage.
Massage can help reduce muscle pain and tension, alleviate stress, and even work as a complementary treatment for patients who suffer from depression. While many people may suffer from some of these problems, military veterans are a group more likely to suffer from all three.
Students learn during their massage therapist education that muscle tension and pain can be caused by a variety of sources. Elevated stress levels can make muscles tense and lead to soreness over time, overuse and poor posture can cause some muscles to feel strained, and injuries are often a source of muscle pain.
The deep strokes and methodical approach of trigger point and deep tissue massage can help release painful “knots” in muscles for veterans experiencing pain. However, it’s important for massage therapists to thoroughly assess their patient to ascertain if Massage Therapy intervention is appropriate.
Soldiers can experience high levels of stress during military combat. They might experience a stressful experience like an unexpected attack, the detonation of a land mine, or the injury of a friend.
What many people don’t often realize is that in addition to stress during combat, veterans also experience stress when reintegrating into civilian life. As veterans return to civilian life, they face many challenges, such as:
Because of these difficulties, veterans can often feel stressed and need the help of healthcare professionals.
As students completing their therapeutic massage courses know, high levels of the stress hormone cortisol are associated with anxiety, decreased memory, and high blood pressure. Fortunately, massage therapies like Swedish massage help lower levels of cortisol. With the help of regular massage, veterans can decrease their stress levels and make a smoother transition to life outside of the military.
Veterans are at a higher risk of developing depression than the general population. They might feel isolated from others who don’t understand their experiences or feel haunted by traumatic memories of combat. As a result, many programs and associations that support veterans offer services like counselling, helplines, and massage therapy to help veterans lead healthy and happy lives following their military service.
Students enrolled in massage therapy schools learn that massage boosts levels of oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine. These hormones promote feelings of trust, comfort, happiness and well-being, and can combine with counselling and medication to help veterans recover from depression.
In what other ways do you think massage therapy can benefit veterans?