Popular meditative salt lamps best shop WA
Popular meditative salt lamps best shop WA
MASSAGE FOR TREATMENT OF POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER
In light of recent world events, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, has been a subject of much discussion in the news. However, it is not only troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who suffer from PTSD. Healthcare workers from many different disciplines are seeing increased numbers of patients from all walks of life presenting symptoms of PTSD. Many of those who are seeking help with PTSD prefer alternative or natural approaches to ease some of burdens of the affliction. Massage therapists and other “body-workers” are increasingly being called upon to offer some solace to those suffering from the emotional and physical devastation of PTSD.
It has been estimated that 70% of the adults in the US have experienced a trauma severe enough to result in PTSD. These events can be military combat, a terrorist attack, natural disasters, a violent crime, or horrific accident. Of those who have gone through such an event, about 8% of men, and 20% of women will go on to develop PTSD. PTSD is a complex disorder, with long ranging consequences. A person with PTSD is unable to “let go” of the traumatic episode they have witnessed or experienced, and they relive it again and again. Typical symptoms of a person with PTSD will include:
- Flashbacks and Nightmares
- Difficulty sleeping
- A feeling of detachment or distance
- Chronic pain or fatigue
How Can Massage Help?
According to Western medicine, the symptoms of PTSD are the result of imbalances in brain chemicals triggered by emotional stress. These chemicals, including neurotransmitters such as serotonin, affect behavior, feelings and cognition. By reliving the traumatic event, people with PTSD are always in a heightened state of anxiety. The brain is unable to turn off the “Fight or Flight” response, and their bodies are constantly flooded with stress hormones that cause not only emotional, but physical pain, as muscles are constantly tensed for action. Massage therapy and other bodywork such as Reiki, or Tui Na, can not only relax tensed muscles and ease the physical pain, they can trigger the body’s relaxation response, breaking the cycle of fight or flight.
Massage therapy is an excellent addition to an overall treatment plan for sufferers of Post Traumatic Stress disorder. Once a person is able to relax through massage, circulation improves, sleep patterns can return to normal, and a more relaxed patient is more open to other modalities such as talk therapy that can help them resolve the issues at the root of his or her PTSD.
MEDITATION 101: TECHNIQUES, BENEFITS, AND A BEGINNER’S HOW-TO
Concentration meditation involves focusing on a single point. This could entail following the breath, repeating a single word or mantra, staring at a candle flame, listening to a repetitive gong, or counting beads on a mala. Since focusing the mind is challenging, a beginner might meditate for only a few minutes and then work up to longer durations.
In this form of meditation, you simply refocus your awareness on the chosen object of attention each time you notice your mind wandering. Rather than pursuing random thoughts, you simply let them go. Through this process, your ability to concentrate improves.
Mindfulness meditation encourages the practitioner to observe wandering thoughts as they drift through the mind. The intention is not to get involved with the thoughts or to judge them, but simply to be aware of each mental note as it arises.
Through mindfulness meditation, you can see how your thoughts and feelings tend to move in particular patterns. Over time, you can become more aware of the human tendency to quickly judge an experience as good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant. With practice, an inner balance develops.
In some schools of meditation, students practice a combination of concentration and mindfulness. Many disciplines call for stillness — to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the teacher.
OTHER MEDITATION TECHNIQUES
There are various other meditation techniques. For example, a daily meditation practice among Buddhist monks focuses directly on the cultivation of compassion. This involves envisioning negative events and recasting them in a positive light by transforming them through compassion. There are also moving meditation techniques, such as tai chi, qigong, and walking meditation.
BENEFITS OF MEDITATION
If relaxation is not the goal of meditation, it is often a result. In the 1970s, Herbert Benson, MD, a researcher at Harvard University Medical School, coined the term “relaxation response” after conducting research on people who practiced transcendental meditation. The relaxation response, in Benson’s words, is “an opposite, involuntary response that causes a reduction in the activity of the sympathetic nervous system.”
Since then, studies on the relaxation response have documented the following short-term benefits to the nervous system:
Lower blood pressure
Improved blood circulation
Lower heart rate
Slower respiratory rate
Lower blood cortisol levels
More feelings of well-being
This meditation exercise is an excellent introduction to meditation techniques.
Make no effort to control the breath; simply breathe naturally.
Focus your attention on the breath and on how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. Notice the movement of your body as you breathe. Observe your chest, shoulders, rib cage, and belly. Simply focus your attention on your breath without controlling its pace or intensity. If your mind wanders, return your focus back to your breath.
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