One nonprofit organization has made it its mission to help individuals in the Austin, Texas area who are struggling with PTSD or trauma situations.
And they do it by offering holistic treatment options, which includes massage therapy services.
A Holistic Healing Approach
In operation since 2006, the Aloe Foundation has made it its mission “to provide holistic healing care to individuals affected by illness or trauma.”
With a focus on treating the affected persons both mentally and physically, the Foundation strives to achieve this goal by creating individualized, client-centered treatment plans for their ill or traumatized clients.
Ultimately, its intent is to reduce these individuals’ levels of stress and pain while also increasing their overall health and wellness.
“Through treatments such as massage therapy, acupuncture, facials, and energetic work, our therapists make an immediate, meaningful difference in the lives of so many,” said Julie Paul, Development Director of the Aloe Foundation.
Paul goes on to say that, by engaging in these types of holistic treatment options, their clients wind up feeling “relieved, empowered and renewed.” They also report a measurable decrease in their pain and stress levels, said Paul.
In addition to treating its own clients, the Aloe Foundation expands its reach by partnering with many other agencies to provide services to their clientele, too.
By combining forces at special events hosted by both agencies in unison, the Aloe Foundation is able to provide holistic care to even more deserving clientele.
The Sidran Traumatic Stress Institute shares that approximately three out of four people in the U.S. have already or will have experienced at least one traumatic event in their lifetime.
Additionally, one in five of those traumatized will likely develop PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
PTSD is a condition characterized by feelings of depression and anxiety, reoccurring nightmares and reliving of the event, chronic pain, headaches and fatigue.
In some cases, the individual develops self-destructive behaviors in an effort to cope, resulting in issues relating to alcohol and drug abuse. In some cases, the person feels like suicide is the only way out.
Figuring out how to deal with a major illness can take a drastic toll on a person as well. In fact, the American Psychological Association indicates that, in addition to trying to resolve the physical symptoms brought about by a particular condition, individuals oftentimes feel distressed and depressed after hearing an unexpected diagnosis.
Sometimes guilt, shame or grief—the last of which can trigger emotions related to denial, bargaining, anger and sadness—appear as well.
Offering Massage Services to Partner Agencies
“We usually host our wellness clinics on our partner’s site,” said Paul, “so we visit Ronald McDonald House at Dell Children’s Hospital, Breast Cancer Resource Center of Texas, SAFE and Camp Mabry.”
Generally, these types of events occur on Mondays (three per month on average) and last a few hours at a time, often from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Paul said that this is where their need for “gracious, kind, warm hearted, and licensed therapists” come in.
Massage therapists who help out at these events are paid an honorarium, said Paul. However, she’s also quick to add that it isn’t just about the money as “we often find that our therapists get as much out of the clinics as [do] their clients.”
“It is truly remarkable to watch them firsthand,” said Paul, “[to] witness their healing hands and their client’s immediate and restorative transformation.” In fact, one event in particular sticks out in Paul’s memory, and it was one the Foundation did with LifeWorks.
A Memorable LifeWorks Event
LifeWorks is an agency that works with youth and their families, many who have faced “difficult challenges, including homelessness, trauma and abuse.
The goal is to help these young adults become more self-sufficient and, as of today’s date, LifeWorks has worked hard to achieve that goal, providing housing services to 499 youth and families, counseling to 2,032, and education and workforce assistance to 1,856.
So, at a 2016 event that the Aloe Foundation did with LifeWorks, Paul shares that massage services were offered to these youth and their families.
One gentleman had a massage, and it was after receiving it that that he “got off the table and declared, ‘I truly feel like a brand-new man!’” said Paul.
Events Just as Memorable for the MTs
“I feel so lucky and honored to be a part of this organization,” said Jody McFarland, RN, LMT, lead massage therapist with the Aloe Foundation. She adds that, for her, participating in partnered events as a massage therapist is both “an honor and a privilege.”
“It is a cherished experience to make an immediate impact on someone’s life in a positive way,” said McFarland, reinforcing that it is through the services that the Foundation offers at these events—massage therapy, acupuncture, facials, and energy work—that clients are often able to decrease their pain and stress and earn a renewed sense of wellness.
But providing services doesn’t just benefit the clients. “They express deep gratitude for the compassionate, client-centered loving care they receive,” said McFarland, but also adds that what she gets in return is a chance to live her purpose. “I became a massage therapist to help reduce human suffering,” she said, “and working with AF [Aloe Foundation] gives me an opportunity to do just that.”
Calling Austin-Based MTs
If having this type of effect on someone in need, someone who has been through tough times, sounds appealing to you, Paul said that, though they do have massage therapists they contract with, the Aloe Foundation is also “always open to more on the team.” So, if you have an interest and passion for what they do and live in the Austin area, they’d love to hear from you.
“There are usually two to three massage therapists at each event,” said McFarland, and the client gets to choose which services he or she would like to receive. “They may partake in all,” she said, adding that sessions are generally about 20 minutes each.
Since there is typically one event per week, therapists have ample opportunity to provide massage services to those in need. “Donors make it possible for clients to receive holistic healing services at no charge,” said McFarland, but it is the massage therapists who make it possible to offer these services at all, she added.
About The Author:
Christina DeBusk is a freelance writer dedicated to providing readers relevant, research-backed content related to health and wellness, personal development, safety, and small business ownership.