Firefighters have one of the most stressful and life threatening occupations one can have. Their regular exposition to danger and trauma makes them at high risk to develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), or any stress related disorder. Recent studies are showing how firefighters and paramedics are now hand-in-hand with war veterans in regards to how many are affected.
Stress is not just a state of mind, it has a physiological signature in the body.
In human biology, a cell can respond to how it perceives the world in two fundamental ways: growth (love) and protection (fear). These reactions are controlled by the nervous system. A human cell cannot be optimally in growth and protection simultaneously. Can a nervous system be optimally in growth and protection at the same time?
Can a human being be optimally in growth and protection at the same time? Overtime and overused, the stress response creates damage to the body and alters the brain chemistry. A firefighter who regularly faces trauma -responding to an auto accident, to a terror attack, planes crashes, attending bodies in critical conditions..., and often who experiences trauma -like severe physical injury or the loss of a brother, has a nervous system that responds to incoming stressors with protective mechanisms majority of the time. This will eventually compromise the immune system. And manifestations appear in common symptoms like chronic pain, headaches & migraines, depression, chronic illnesses, anxiety, insomnia, panic attacks, etc...
Trauma and conditions like PTSD or depression are not present only on a psychological level. It also exists in the body, in the tissues, in the tensions patterns, and leaves a physiological imprint even long after the original traumatic experience occurred.
This is where CranioSacral Therapy plays a great role in helping with the healing process.
CranioSacral therapy (CST) is a type of body therapy that uses a light touch to help release tension in the body. It is an alternative healing modality that comes from osteopathy. The person being treated is lying down on the back, fully clothed, while the therapist uses a non- invasive and gentle touch to assess and treat restrictions found in the body.
What does happen when the body experiences trauma? It stops. It freezes. Even for a brief second depending on the severity of the situation. Picture the fainting goats who freeze for roughly three seconds every time they panic. They are the perfect representation/exaggeration of what happens inside our body when we experience trauma or intense stress. CST helps restore fluidity in the tissues, increases circulation and encourages the self-healing process, innate in each of us. It helps the whole body to come out of a frozen state, slowly walking back into the path of life with increased resiliency. It offers a present and deeply attentive touch, which is crucial to help with the transformation of the traumatic experiences that are stored on a cellular level.
CST helps to greater reconnect mind & body in the present moment,
while establishing a different relationship with trauma.
Treating the body is a significant key into improving mental health and can be extremely valuable in helping firefighters who are suffering from PSTD or other stress related conditions.
Firefighter’s Down, founded by Captain Mike Henry & Captain Rick Brandelli, is a “Wounded Warriors” style program, for Firefighters & their families. Designed by seasoned Firefighters and therapeutic industry leaders, to shift the negative psychological effects of fire-ground injuries and the extreme traumatic accidents/incidents seen by firefighters to positive behaviors that enrich firefighter’s lives & families.
Fore more information and to make a donation, visit https://www.firefightersdown.org/
Emma Julaud, CMT, CST. Flowing Still, Body Therapy. emmajulaud.com