Massage and related therapies have found to lessen the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a psychiatric condition in which stress reactions become abnormal, chronic and may worsen over time. PTSD is linked to depression, substance abuse, memory and cognition dysfunction suicidal tendencies and other health problems.

A new, unrelated research study has identified top factors for predicting the prevalence of PTSD among servicepeople: Traumatic brain injury suffered during active-duty deployment was the greatest predictor for subsequent PTSD; and pre-deployment PTSD symptoms and high combat intensity were also significant factors.

“The severity of post-deployment PTSD symptoms depends, in part, on the severity of pre-existing symptoms from prior trauma and combat intensity,” said principal investigator Dewleen G. Baker, M.D., research director at the Veterans Administration Center of Excellence for Stress and Mental Health. “An individual with no pre-existing PTSD symptoms and low combat intensity is at minimal risk for developing PTSD – less than a 1 percent probability. Increases in pre-existing symptom scores and combat intensity modestly increase post-deployment symptom scores by 1 to 2 percent.

“By contrast, deployment-related mild TBI increases post-deployment symptom scores by 23 percent, and moderate to severe injuries increase scores by 71 percent.

Related articles: “Veterans’ Caregivers Taught to Provide Massage”; “Healing Touch Significantly Reduces PTSD Symptoms in Active-Duty Military”