Massage therapy relieves depression and stress while it boosts relaxation, and some massage therapists are aware of how their touch can assist U.S. service personnel. New research shows about one-tenth of soldiers returning from Iraq may be impaired by mental health problems, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression.

Between 8.5 percent and 14 percent of soldiers returning from Iraq report serious functional impairment due to either PTSD or depression, according to a report in the June issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals, and reported in a press release.

“A growing body of literature has demonstrated the association of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan with post-deployment mental health problems, particularly posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression,” the authors write as background information in the article.

“The findings of the study show that at 12 months following combat, the prevalence of mental health problems among veterans does not abate, and in many cases, increases. It is a virtual certainty that soldiers who remain in service will deploy again; this study shows that a sizable proportion (9 percent to 14 percent) have depression or PTSD symptoms with serious functional impairment,” they write.

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