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Interview with Bill Plyor


Testimonial from Elliott Marcott

“Most Veterans have some wear on there bodies.  For me, it was my knees and shoulders.  I found that massage not only relieved the pains I was experiencing, but in time I no longer had any pain at all. 

I would highly recommend this generous program to any and all Veterans regardless of their condition.  Hands for Heroes offers an invaluable tool in improving the health of those who receive these services.” 

Downloadable PDFs

Title Type Author Date Size Tags
Night-Before-Christmas .pdf Unnamed Soldier June 08, 2011 60.85 KB Download

Tesimonial from Helen Smithson

Massage Back From The Brink of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Massage has been shown to be massively beneficial to veterans and members of the armed forces who return to the United States with physical limitations. Massage can help to ease pain, prepare muscles for extra stress and pressure and reduce the effect of physical wounds. However massage can also help to heal the mental scars and burdens that many veterans return with. Nearly 30 per cent of returning veterans are reported to have some form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and this can have a devastating effect on their lives. [1] Many people can suffer with undiagnosed PTSD for many years without realizing, and it is a condition that may affect many more veterans than the official statistics suggest. Signs and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder include suffering from bad dreams, having fearful thoughts and flashbacks, Returning soldiers with PTSD often struggle to maintain regular employment or to fit back into their previously happy family lives. [2] However massage can help to ease the emotional pain of PTSD and help its veteran suffers to reconnect with the world in a meaningful way.

How Massage Can Help

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, from a medical point of view, is effectively a chemical imbalance in the brain caused by severe trauma or stress. When you are witness to a terrifying or stressful event your fight or flight instinct kicks in and it can be difficult to switch off this heightened emotional reaction. In fact an inability to switch off and relax from a heightened sense of anxiety and tension is one of the main symptoms of PTSD. Massage can help to control this [3] on a simple and fundamental level because one of the main aims of massage is to relax tensed muscles. When the PTSD sufferers muscles are constantly tense and ‘ready for action’ this can cause them physical as well as emotional pain. However massage can help to ease this as well as to encourage the veteran to relax and take time out to focus on themselves: as well as encourage themselves to feel vulnerable in front of another person, no doubt for the first time in a long time.

The Benefits of Touch

It doesn’t actually matter what kind of massage is given to help in this particular treatment instance; no one technique has been proven to be more or less beneficial than another. [4] The key is to use whatever kind of massage you are familiar with or feel most comfortable with. No matter the technique the aim of this kind of massage therapy is to inadvertently trigger traumatic memory; although this may sound traumatic and unnecessary, this is actually a powerful tool for healing and growth. One must face the trauma that is preventing them from moving on, process is and deal with it before you can be free of your PTSD and continue with your life in any meaningful way. Massage helps to form attachment and touch has been proven in so many different studies to be healing and enriching.

Of course, massage alone cannot be a cure for post-traumatic stress disorder, nor are we suggesting that that is the case. However massage certainly can help to ease PTSD symptoms and can be massively beneficial along side other medical support and intervention to help veterans to overcome this condition and go on to live happy and fulfilling lives. Taking a holistic approach to the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder can significantly reduce the likelihood of the sufferer suffering from any long term negative effects due to their trauma [5] and soldiers that wish to return the army and rejoin their units are even more likely to be able to do so if they combine massage with the other more traditional treatments for their symptoms.

Additional Reading

[1] “National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: How Common is PTSD?”, US Department of Veterans Affairs

[2] “Post traumatic stress disorder symptoms, causes and effects”, Psych Guides

[3] “Massage for treatment of post traumatic stress disorder”, Pacific College of Oriental Medicine

[4] “Recovering body and soul from post traumatic stress disorder”, The American Massage Therapy Association

[5] “Massage combats PTSD, Massage Today