National Guard veterans and their partners who used a self-directed program of integrative therapies, including massage, experienced significant improvements in standardized measures for post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and self-compassion. Partners’ stress levels were also lowered.

The 43 couples participated in guided meditative, contemplative, and relaxation exercises via CDs, and instruction in simple massage techniques via DVD to promote stress reduction and interpersonal connectedness.

“Veterans reported significant reductions in ratings of physical pain, physical tension, irritability, anxiety/worry, and depression after massage, and longitudinal analysis suggested declining baseline levels of tension and irritability,” a press release noted.

This research was published in Military Medicine.