person receiving massage for ptsd
Health and Wellness

How to use Massage for PTSD Treatment

Feb 16, 2023

For people living with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), finding ways to treat symptoms is a priority. PTSD symptoms are part of a cycle that repeats and requires attention to improve. For many, getting a massage for PTSD has helped alleviate symptoms and triggers of the ailment, providing welcomed relief.


Today, we’re taking a look at what PTSD is, how getting a massage for PTSD may help, and other elements you can pair with PTSD massage to enhance your experience. Read on, and learn how massage may help you take back control and improve your overall wellness.

What Is PTSD?


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, commonly referred to as PTSD, is defined by the National Institute of Mental Health as, “a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event.” What exactly does that mean? For some, it could be the result of combat or experience during military service while for others it’s the product of a traumatic incident in their lives stemming from accidents, abuse, or any other form of traumatic event.


There is an average of 5% of the United States population living with PTSD each year, so you’re not alone in your feelings. That statistic aside, however, PTSD is a very personal, unique condition for the individual living with it so not all forms of treatment work the same.

How Massage for PTSD May Help


One of the many potential treatment methods for PTSD symptoms is getting a massage regularly. Massage therapy for PTSD may help reduce or eliminate symptoms and triggers such as:


  • Stress
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Chronic pain
  • Poor sleep quality or insomnia
  • Muscle tension and stiffness

Studies have shown a direct correlation between PTSD massage therapy and improvement in symptoms or triggers. Participants in one major study were military veterans who reported reduced feelings of pain, anxiety, and depression, as well as an improvement in their overall mood and attitude.


Using massage therapy for PTSD could alleviate some of the physical and psychological ailments associated with traumatic experiences, letting those living with PTSD experience an increase in their overall health and wellness.

Best Techniques for PTSD Massage


There are many different types of massage techniques available, each focused on different ways to manipulate the body and achieve certain results. When it comes to PTSD massage techniques, choosing therapeutic and recovery-based massage techniques may be your best options. Some popular techniques for massage PTSD treatments include:


  • Swedish massage
  • Deep tissue massage
  • Shiatsu massage
  • Thai massage

Swedish Massage


The long strokes of Swedish massage are intended to help with faster bodily recovery while alleviating muscle tension and soreness. These movements improve circulation and deepen relaxation during your PTSD massage treatment, elevating your physical and mental wellness at once.

Deep Tissue Massage


Another form of massage for PTSD you may consider is deep tissue massage. This technique applies firm pressure and slow strokes to manipulate deep layers of muscle, making it a type of massage PTSD patients may find loosens their muscles and provides physical relief from pain and stiffness that can manifest as PTSD symptoms. 

Shiatsu Massage


The Shiatsu massage technique, which means “finger pressure massage,” is a kind of deep tissue massage style also aimed at applying pressure to specific points of the body in order to alleviate pain and loosen muscles. A more therapeutic type of massage for PTSD, it is often associated with increasing blood flow, deepening relaxation, and improving sleep quality.

Thai Massage


Getting a Thai massage for PTSD treatment is a little different than other forms of massage. This kind of massage therapy for PTSD is sometimes referred to as “assisted yoga” as traditional Thai massage movements involve deep stretching for full-body decompression. This full body massage for PTSD may improve symptoms and help those living with the condition find relaxation and relief.

Using a Massage Chair for PTSD Treatment


Making regular massage therapy appointments can be an expensive ongoing treatment or difficult to fit into a busy schedule. A solution for getting a massage for PTSD that many have turned to is purchasing a full body massage chair. There are many benefits of owning a massage chair, including privacy, the ability to use it whenever you need to, and the diverse array of massage programs and features available.


Using a luxury massage chair as part of ongoing PTSD treatment also brings with it the added benefits of how it positively impacts your overall health and wellness. Getting a massage has been shown to reduce stress, enhance how the body heals itself, improve performance for various body systems such as the lymphatic system, and result in better sleep.


Bonus massage chair features like heat therapy and zero gravity reclining capabilities elevate your massage PTSD treatments even further, alleviating common symptoms and bettering the entire experience.


In addition to using your massage chair in the privacy of your own home, this solution gives you the opportunity to control other inputs to your treatments such as essential oil diffusers, aromatherapy, or music for massage. Each of these (or any combination of them you choose) helps create the ideal environment for your PTSD massage treatment. Just like each person’s PTSD condition is different, a personalized environment facilitates effective massage therapy for PTSD that is tailored to meet your needs.

Other Treatments to Pair with Massage Therapy for PTSD


Before beginning any sort of PTSD treatment, you should consult your doctor for guidance. There are many forms of PTSD treatments you may want to combine with massage therapy for a well-rounded routine. Some of the more common methods include:


  • Talk therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Prescribed medication
  • Stress inoculation therapy (SIT)

Working with your doctor, you can develop a treatment plan that works best for you. Incorporating massage therapy for PTSD into your routine may be just what you need to take control of your symptoms and live your life on your terms. 


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a serious condition but there are methods to help manage symptoms. We hope this guide has given you ideas to discuss with your doctor about pairing massage for PTSD into your routine. With a full body massage chair, you can experience the treatment you need on your schedule and as often as you need. Give it a shot and see the ways it can positively impact your life.


Unsure which massage chair is right for you? Take a look at the Ogawa Active L 3D Massage Chair to learn the plethora of ways it may help manage your PTSD symptoms.
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