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From the MASSAGE Magazine article, "Healing the Wounds of War," by Chris Towery, in the March 2009 issue. Article summary: Perhaps no population is plagued by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) more than soldiers who serve in combat. Today, with two wars raging in Iraq and Afghanistan, there is a spike in the number of veterans suffering from PTSD. With such a dire need for help, members of the massage and bodywork community have stepped forward to ease the soldiers’ suffering using the power of touch.
Specially trained groups of therapists provide massage to overstressed and traumatized client populations. These clients include disaster-relief workers, victims of domestic violence and returning U.S. military vets.
The groups shown below offer standardized training in specialized protocols.
Carolina Emergency Response Massage Team
CERMT provides massage to emergency responders and caregivers following a disaster or critical incident.
CMT-RI: Crisis Massage Team of Rhode Island
The CMT-RI team trains massage therapists for deployment during emergency situations
Emergency Response Massage International
ERMI provides stress relief to emergency responders and caregivers following a disaster or critical incident.
(336) 247-0635; www.ermassage.org
Florida Immediate Response Stress Team
FIRST provides massage to disaster responders throughout Florida and neighboring states.
(813) 932-2558; firstname.lastname@example.org
Massage Emergency Response Teams
MERT teams are administered by state and local chapters of the American Massage Therapy Association. To locate chapters' contact information, contact the national office:
(847) 864-0123; www.amtamassage.org
Touch of Relief Massage Team
TOR provides complementary health care, wellness education, vocational training programs and humanitarian aid to underserved communities affected by natural and man-made disasters, conflict and poverty.
(301) 680-8867; www.touchofrelief.org
United Aromatherapy Effort
UAE provides chair massage and aromatherapy to relief workers during emergency work and afterwards.
(813) 265-2222; http://unitedaromatherapy.org