How Holistic Treatment Is Used to Treat PTSD

man with ptsd sitting anxiously in a therapist's office

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) refers to a mental health condition that affects people after an accident, physical abuse, sexual assault, or any other traumatic event. There is no telling how long PTSD lasts or when it will begin following trauma. PTSD symptoms include nightmares, flashbacks, and severe anxiety that make it difficult for a person to move forward and function normally after he or she experiences or witnesses a traumatic event.

Research indicates that PTSD affects individuals of all ages across the United States; in fact, up to 8% of the U.S. population experiences PTSD at some point in their life, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Approximately 10% of women develop PTSD during their lifetime, and 4% of men experience PTSD. Additionally, about 8 million U.S. adults deal with PTSD in a given year.

PTSD symptoms vary in terms of length and severity and can begin any time after a traumatic event. PTSD symptoms can include:

  • Intrusive Memories: Cause a person to relive trauma through upsetting dreams or nightmares, or they experience recurrent, distressing memories related to a traumatic event.
  • Avoidance: Leads to avoidance of people, places, things, and/or activities that remind a person of a traumatic event.
  • Negative Thinking and/or Mood: Results in negative thoughts, feelings of hopelessness about the future, and memory problems, along with detachment from family and friends. This may include a lack of interest in activities that an individual previously enjoyed.
  • Physical and Emotional: Includes difficulty sleeping, irritability, and other physical and emotional changes that make it difficult for a person to function.

If PTSD symptoms linger for a month or longer, an individual should consult with a doctor to explore treatment options, both medication, psychotherapy and holistic treatments for PTSD.

What Is Holistic Treatment of PTSD?

Holistic treatment of PTSD involves the use of alternative therapies and techniques in lieu of conventional medical practices to address PTSD symptoms. Holistic treatments of PTSD include:

1. Massage Therapy

Massage therapy involves manual manipulation of soft body tissues to reduce stress and promote overall health and wellness. In a study of integrative therapies used to promote reintegration among veterans, researchers found that participants who received massage therapy significantly reduced physical pain, tension, anxiety, and depression. Other research shows massage therapy may help people dealing with disassociation (when a person feels “disconnected” from himself or herself), which is one of the symptoms related to PTSD.

2. Acupuncture

Acupuncture involves the insertion of thin, tiny needles into different points on the body. Acupuncture needles help balance the flow of energy in the body to stimulate nerves, muscles, and connective tissue. In a study of 60 veterans, researchers discovered that acupuncture helped participants improve their sleep, even among participants previously diagnosed with PTSD.

3. Yoga

Yoga involves exercises designed to promote mind and body control, as well as enhance one’s overall well-being. There are many different yoga styles, and they come in such a variety that you can find yoga options available for individuals of all ages and fitness levels. In a 2015 study of 80 individuals diagnosed with PTSD, researchers found that yoga may help reduce PTSD symptoms. Researchers in the aforementioned study also noted that yoga may provide an adjunctive or alternative treatment for PTSD.

4. Reiki

Reiki, sometimes referred to as “energy healing,” is an alternative therapy designed to stimulate energy fields around the body. During a Reiki treatment session, a practitioner places his or her hands on a patient’s body using different hand shapes to help reduce stress and improve well-being. In one study, researchers used a PTSD checklist to assess PTSD patients’ symptoms after Reiki treatments. They found that PTSD patients who received Reiki treatments reported a decline in their PTSD symptoms. These study results were clinically and statistically significant in terms of highlighting the overall effectiveness of Reiki to treat PTSD.

5. Meditation

Meditation is a series of techniques that promotes mindfulness, the ability to focus on the here and now. It involves deep breathing and other techniques designed to increase concentration, clarity, and positivity. A study of PTSD patients indicated that participants who engaged in meditation experienced reduced PTSD symptoms and improvements in their depression symptoms.

What Is the Best Holistic Treatment for PTSD?

The ideal holistic treatment for PTSD depends on the individual. At Achieve Concierge, we understand how holistic treatment is used for PTSD symptoms, and we offer custom holistic treatments to accommodate our patients’ needs.

Achieve Concierge believes real healing of PTSD involves treating all aspects of an individual. As such, we take a holistic and collaborative approach to treating PTSD, working closely with patients to create a treatment program that delivers optimal results. Our team of professionals are happy to meet with a PTSD patient and discuss holistic treatment options. To schedule a consultation with Achieve Concierge, please contact us online or call us today at (619) 393-5871.

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