“Thank you for your service.”
That’s the message we share with all our veterans and active military personnel today … and every day.
In honor of Veteran’s Day, we wanted to share a few thoughts that will help you see how you can impact, or connect with, this community that is often rife with physical and emotional wounds that can continue long after their service has ended.
Did you know that in a 2013 study, 45% of active military respondents reported using at least one type of CAM therapy, including massage—a number up to seven times higher than that found in comparable civilian surveys?1 This population is looking for solutions to their pain and is willing to look outside the normal conventions of medicine to find it.
Researchers have specifically been looking at the use of various CAM therapies to ease the symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in our veterans. A 2012 survey found that the majority of Veterans Affairs (VA) specialized PTSD treatment programs across the country offered at least one CAM therapy for its patients.2 Many veterans, however, are going outside the VA system to seek help, and are paying for services like massage out-of-pocket.
And finding an alternative to opiate use for pain management is something being heralded not only by the US Department of Defense, but the military personnel themselves. Noted author and researcher Janet Kahn says massage and bodywork has a notable opportunity in this area.
So what can you do to serve those who serve?
• You can connect with your local VA or other volunteer groups to offer hands-on therapies to military personnel in need, not just today, but year-round.
• You can market to this group of military clients and their families specifically, maybe even offering discounted or pro bono services.
• You can just say thank you—whenever you can.
Here are some articles to offer additional ideas and insights into this underserved community:
“Wounded Warriors Find Relief With Massage”
“Reiki and PTSD: Easing the Burdens of War”
“Bringing Them Home: Can Craniosacral Therapy Help Veterans Reintegrate”
“Mission Possible: How Can You Reach Out to Veterans?”
—Karrie Osborn is senior editor at Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals.
1. C. Goertz et al., “Military Report More Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Than Civilians,” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 19, no. 6 (June 2013): 509–17.
2. D. Libby, C. Pilver, R. Desai, “Complementary and Alternative Medicine in VA Specialized PTSD Treatment Programs,” Psychiatric Services 63, no. 11 (November 2012).