Post traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can develop in individuals who experience life-threatening experiences or have witnessed a traumatic incident. Such events may be but are not limited too, physical and/or sexual violence, natural disasters, serious accidents, and war.
a related disorder is complex PTSD or C-PTSD. While PTSD is caused by an acute exposure to a traumatic incident, C-PTSD is thought to be caused by prolonged exposure. to traumatic events particularly abuse, over a period of months or years.
Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are both mental health conditions that can occur as a result of experiencing traumatic events. While they share some symptoms, C-PTSD is often associated with prolonged and repeated trauma, such as childhood abuse or long-term interpersonal trauma, while PTSD is typically linked to a single traumatic event. Here are some common signs and symptoms of both C-PTSD and PTSD:
Common Symptoms of C-PTSD and PTSD:
Additional Symptoms Specific to C-PTSD:
PTSD is complex disorder, and successful treatment is multi-faceted incorporating a biopsychosocial model of recovery. Current treatment for PTSD may include EMDR, nutritional therapy, and increasingly novel therapies such as massage, yoga and psychedelic treatment.
Physical touch and massage therapy can have a positive impact on the sympathetic nervous system, which is one of the branches of the autonomic nervous system responsible for the “fight or flight” response. Engaging in activities that promote relaxation and activate the parasympathetic nervous system can help counterbalance the effects of stress and promote a sense of well-being. Here’s how physical touch, massage therapy, and the sympathetic nervous system are related:
Physical Touch and Massage Therapy:
Relaxation Response: Gentle physical touch, such as a hug or holding hands, can trigger the release of oxytocin, a hormone that promotes relaxation and bonding. Massage therapy involves skilled manipulation of muscles and tissues, which can help release muscle tension and reduce stress.
Stress Reduction: Both physical touch and massage therapy have been shown to decrease cortisol levels, a hormone associated with stress. This reduction in cortisol can contribute to a sense of calm and relaxation.
Pain Relief: Massage therapy can alleviate physical discomfort and pain, which can contribute to a reduction in overall stress levels.
Sympathetic Nervous System and Relaxation:
Parasympathetic Activation: The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the body’s “fight or flight” response to stressors. The parasympathetic nervous system is its counterpart, responsible for the “rest and digest” response. Activities like physical touch and massage therapy can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, leading to a decrease in heart rate, improved digestion, and relaxation.
Heart Rate and Blood Pressure: Physical touch and massage therapy can help lower heart rate and blood pressure, which are often elevated during periods of stress or anxiety.
Stress Hormone Regulation: Engaging in relaxation-promoting activities like massage therapy can help regulate the release of stress hormones, such as adrenaline and noradrenaline, associated with the sympathetic nervous system response.
It’s important to remember that individual responses to touch and massage therapy can vary. Some people may find these techniques highly effective for relaxation, while others may have different preferences. If you’re considering massage therapy or seeking relaxation through physical touch, it’s a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional, especially if you have any medical conditions or concerns.
I speak about this phenomenon from experience currently practicing grief work with my clients. I