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#24857 - 11/27/02 12:35 PM Effects of sexual abuse lessened by Massage Therapy
MrDon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/08/01
Posts: 957
Loc: Deltona, FL
I received this study the other day in response to a quesiton I sent to the Touch Research Institute. I am planning on doing my research paper for school with using massage to help survivors child abuse heal.

The Touch Research Institute in Miami is helping to "quantify" the effects of massage for many conditions. A lot of the work is new but it is exciting to read through the studies they have done. If you wish to check them out, the website is http://www.miami.edu/touch-research/

This study that I received was done on women and after 2 30 minute massages a week, they reported being less depressed and less anxious along with their salivary cortisol levels were decreased. They also experienced a decrease in life event stress. The control group which was only give relaxation therapy did report a decrease in anxiety in dpression but their hormones did not change. The control group reported an increasingly negative attitude towards touch.

There is a lot more in this study, but this is just the brief summary from it. For me, massage has been a very healing thing and has helped me begin the process of connecting to and accepting my body.

I only hope that more of these studies will be done and well yours truly is going to help push this along if I can.

Don

Reference:
Sexual Abuse: Massage therapy reduced aversion to touch and decreased anxiety, depression and cortisol levels, in women who had been sexually or physically abused.

Field, T., Hernandez-Reif, M., Hart, S., Quintino, O., Drose, L., Field, T., Kuhn, C., & Schanberg, S (1997). Sexual abuse effects are lessened by massage therapy, Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 1,65-69

http://www.miami.edu/touch-research/List%20of%20Studies.html#anchor172603

_________________________
In order to journey to new worlds, we must first be willing to lose site of the shore.

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#24858 - 11/27/02 02:26 PM Re: Effects of sexual abuse lessened by Massage Therapy
JamesMichael Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/24/02
Posts: 134
I've had 4 or 5 deep tissue massages in the last two years. One or two were great, the others so-so. I don't have a problem being touched in this way. As a matter of fact I like it...a lot. Aside from the deep relaxation I feel, I also experience them as secondarily erotic...even though none were "erotic massages" per se. That is, I've gotten an erection and experienced increased lubricating. This, whether the massage therapist was a man or woman. The therapists were always very professional, made no comments about the arousal, instructed me in deep breathing, and so on.

My concern is that for me and probably some other survivor massage clients or survivor massage therapists is that ostensibly professional massages would become a bridge to real erotic massage. So, how do you handle this in your training? Also, is my aroused male response a common one? I've read that it is.

I don't think we can be naive about the situations we get ourselves into no matter what side of the table we're on. We have to be aware enough to take our own pulse on these things.

G.


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#24859 - 11/27/02 03:12 PM Re: Effects of sexual abuse lessened by Massage Therapy
MrDon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/08/01
Posts: 957
Loc: Deltona, FL
Actually when I have gotten massages, I tend to get errections (not always anymore, but still do from time to time). For me this has been very difficult because the abuse I went through started with my father/brother watching for an errection. So it was the step that started the process and for years I have been trying to hide those things... even though it does get tough at times for me. So massage was very scary because my mind was making the connection that if I had an errection, one of two things would happen 1) The person would abuse me or 2) it meant I wanted sex with them. Neither of these explanations seemed to fit at the time, but they both seemed to be there..

Then,,,,,

we had a class one day and we were talking about the relaxation response and how the automomic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system worked. And for the life of me right now, I can't remember which is which. But basically in a nutshell, the part of our nervous system that controls an errection is also the part of our nervous system that is activated when we get a massage and we relax. That almost sounds like a two edged sword, but knowing that has helped me to accept this a lot more. And to be honest, the frequency of errections during massages has decreased for me. But I guess I am trying to bring out the point that having an errection or secretions does not mean anything sexual and in fact it is more normal for guys than anyone would realize. It is part of the relaxation response.

One of the things that I have done more recently is to request that I start face up in a massage. The reason behind this is that as the massage therapist gets to a point where they will turn me over, I am just beginning to really reach that deep relaxation. Once I'm turned over, it doesn't seem to bother me and if the errection is there, it is only for a short time.

But it is normal and it doesn't mean you are desiring to have sex with the therapist or they with you. In fact a professional should not be alarmed by it or worry about it because it is part of the relaxation response. Kind of seems funny to me to think of errections and relaxation as being the same thing and hopefully I haven't confused you.

You bring up a very good point and I'm not sure exactly how I would handle it. If I could tell it made the person uncomfortable, than I would probably let them start face up or find a very respectful way to let them know that it is normal. Not sure, but since you asked, I will now begin thinking more how I would handle this especially with a survivor. Thanks for the question... and the challenge for me.

Don

_________________________
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The Mind Body Thoughts Blog
http://mindbodythoughts.blogspot.com/

Check out my relaxing piano music from the heart!
http://www.donshetterly.com

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#24860 - 11/27/02 04:08 PM Re: Effects of sexual abuse lessened by Massage Therapy
New to this Offline
Member

Registered: 09/16/02
Posts: 138
Loc: Mississippi
MrDon,

Iíve followed several of your post on massage. Iíve never been comfortable with the topic as it has appeared here. After your last post I know why.

Many of us here have had trouble with acting out. We find ways to re-live and continue the abuse because that was where we found acceptance, ďloveĒ, physical intimacy and emotional intimacy.

Erections with secretions are sexual experiences. We call that heavy petting.

In finding my road to recovery I have seen many detours. I hope you have not taken a detour and mistaken it for the real road to recovery.

_________________________
"Knowledge itself is power" Francis Bacon

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#24861 - 11/27/02 04:24 PM Re: Effects of sexual abuse lessened by Massage Therapy
MrDon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/08/01
Posts: 957
Loc: Deltona, FL
New To This,
Thanks for voicing your concern. I'm not talking about having sex and massage therapy together. Far from that and there is a big differance. I hope that response I wrote didn't come across this way because I in no way want to be part of massage that touches on anything sexual nor do I want a massage that makes me sexual.

For me if someone touched me with my clothes on and not in a massage setting (say someone gave me a hug), my body responded in a sexual way as that was the only way it knew how. I'm talking about a safe hug or touch, nothing intended or wanted to be sexual in any way. It didn't mean I wanted to have sex with myself or them, it just meant that this is how my body reacted when I was touched. Since that time, I am learning that healthy touch is completely different than anything associated with sexual touch or sex. I am learning to be able to accept healthy touch now and not have it necessarily get turned into sexual touch with my body. This is a healing process for me. It is learning more about my body so that it can enjoy the healthy touch that it never got to enjoy.

Don

_________________________
In order to journey to new worlds, we must first be willing to lose site of the shore.

The Mind Body Thoughts Blog
http://mindbodythoughts.blogspot.com/

Check out my relaxing piano music from the heart!
http://www.donshetterly.com

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#24862 - 11/27/02 05:17 PM Re: Effects of sexual abuse lessened by Massage Therapy
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
One thing that massage is helping me with is that while it is in no way sexual touch, it is therapeutically opening me up to proper sexual touch & intimacy.

Wuame

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#24863 - 11/27/02 05:39 PM Re: Effects of sexual abuse lessened by Massage Therapy
MS Admin Offline
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Registered: 10/21/02
Posts: 382
http://www.malesurvivor.org/articles/hoey.htm

You may find this interesting as well.

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#24864 - 11/28/02 12:04 AM Re: Effects of sexual abuse lessened by Massage Therapy
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Thanks MS Team, that is a terrific article. Anyone thinking about giving or receiving massage would benefit from this. Not only good for MT's (or others) wanting to work with survivors, but also offenders (of course many are both).

It talks a lot about therapists & massage therapists working together. I have a T & an MT that do this, and it makes a big difference with the mind-body connection & overall healing.

I can personally testify to the power of massage as therapeutic touch that retrains you in responses to touch & in touching.

I can feel physical pain leaving my body during massage, and I know emotional pain & stress is leaving also becuz of how my body loosenes up & how much more relaxed I feel.

"Our body remembers even when our conscious mind forgets." "...emotions are not just in the brain, they are in the body." Much of my recovery involves listening to my body, which was telling me about my abuse long before I had clear memories of it in my mind. Massage is helping my body to not only remember, but to forget, and release, the pain. "The benefits of massage with survivors is being seen. The traumas and unwanted feelings are being "squeezed" from the body."

The article is well worth reading. Massage, or at least some form of therapeutic touch or body work, is well worth trying.

In the words of Yoda to Luke Skywalker in "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back," "[we] must unlearn what [we] have learned" about touch from our increasingly sex-crazed society, which has been an increasingly poor teacher.

Let's face it: it's hard for any kind of touch to be given, received, seen, or thot of without some sexual connotation being put to it.

Hug your kid in public, and take a quick glance around at the faces, the reactions. Try hugging a same sex friend, if you dare! Or even your wife or girlfriend! Give someone a friendly or comforting touch at work.

Many people will be thinking, with thots their faces show, things like: "Pervert!" "Call the child abuse hotline." "They must be gay!" (Not saying that's wrong; but must they?) "Ooh, I'll bet he's gonna get some." "Ooh, I wish I could get some of that." "Sexual harrassment."

In our sexually overexposed society, of course its getting harder to see any touch as just friendly, pure, caring, therapeutic. Including of course massage. As a confessed sex addict, I was sure it would be. Its been quite the opposite.

This article could help a lot of people. IMHO, massage or body work could help a lot of people. If we want to heal, we must restore the connection between our minds & our bodies. Somehow, someway, that works for each one.

Thanks for the article, MS. Don, thanks again for this another thread connecting mind & body.

Wuame

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#24865 - 11/28/02 01:27 AM Re: Effects of sexual abuse lessened by Massage Therapy
MrDon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/08/01
Posts: 957
Loc: Deltona, FL
That article was excellent. I've bookmarked the page and in fact I got a chuckle because some of the people that were mentioned, were names we have just taken a test over. Kewl! But it says so much of what I am trying to learn.

And Wuame, you never cease to amaze me and I am glad that you are open with me as well. It helps me to check what I am experiencing against someone that is totally unconnected to what get to see and do. It is sort of like having the checks and balances in a way which is very helpful.

Like you I agree that when our bodies are abused, it is hard to understand that touch of any type can be good. My body was raped and molested and beat on a daily basis from the time I was a baby until I went to college. My body didn't know what good touch or healthy touch was about. It only knew that touch meant pain, deciet, lies and was nothing that was remotely positive. I have been using the massage in conjunction with therapy to help reclaim that part of my body which was brutally taken away from me. I can see the differances in myself and going from a state of paralysis in 1991 to where I am at today, I know it does help.

More recently, I have started Yoga which is really helping me to become more aware of all things about my body. It along with massage has led to a pretty big emotional release that I wrote about here not too long ago. That emotional release and the significance of the details has now allowed my upper leg muscles to relax a little. They have definately changed and that is the only thing that I can attribute it to. I'm going to be so happy one of these days when my legs freely move like they should and when the tension is fully released.

This entire thread has helped me to understand more about myself as well. Just learning or experiencing truly healthy touch has been more healing than I can begin to describe on this forum.

So my journey through massage school is about as much about my personal healing and growth as it is about being trained in massage therapy.

Don

_________________________
In order to journey to new worlds, we must first be willing to lose site of the shore.

The Mind Body Thoughts Blog
http://mindbodythoughts.blogspot.com/

Check out my relaxing piano music from the heart!
http://www.donshetterly.com

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#24866 - 11/28/02 09:09 AM Re: Effects of sexual abuse lessened by Massage Therapy
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Don:

Thanks. It is so affirming for me in so many ways to be able to both share with you & others about my experiences with my MT and to learn from the sharing of your experiences & what others have to say about it all. Your openness, willingness to learn & grow, and desire to teach & help others grow is truly inspiring.

Knowing you've gotten to the point you're at now took since 1991--11-12 years--encourages me to be patient & persist. My body didn't get beat up & "miseducated" overnight, it won't heal up & get "reeducated overnight.

But I do see the progress. Interesting you mentioned your upper legs, an area that got really stretched for me for the first time in massage on Tuesday.

You know, its almost as if my MT has "for some reason" felt led to focus on that area last. Her sensitivity & perceptiveness never cease to amaze me. I just thot of that. Wow.

Don I checked the links to TRI & the studies, several of which I'd love to read, several of which I can affirm w/o reading them, several I wish I could affirm as having experienced them sooner in my life.

So many were related to alleviating newborn & new mother stress. (Additionally, my mother also had bad asthma, also a study subject listed here, especially during my birth). If I, and my mother, and father for that matter, had just had that kind of touch from the start...Don, that could be a real force in preventing SA before it starts!

Relief & rest related to fibromyalgia & chronic fatigue, back injury & pain, high blood pressure, job performance stress, PTSD, & SA specifically, I can personally testify to.

It would be great if the same kind of study as that done on SA & massage, which was done only with women, could be done with men.

Some of these studies refer to stabilized serotonin levels. Serotonin imbalance relates to my own SA-PTSD, FM, depression, sleep disorders, & migraines (Hmmm my daughters' been having migraines...). To a point these are balanced by Zoloft. But how much more will regular longterm massage & healthy touch help? And God knows I'd love to take less meds! So many implications for treating (including prevention) so many things!

Including, BTW, sex addiction, which is also tied to imbalanced serotonin & other brain chemicals, according to a well-documented theory. Here again, I speak from some experience. What implications for treatment of sex offenders, also mentioned in a couple of studies!

No wonder massage is one of the earliest & in many cultures still most used therapies ever! No wonder our "modern" (U.S.) society is finally starting to try to catch up!

Love to read the studies comparing France (a high-touch society) & the U.S. (low-touch), showing Paris preschool children & adolescents give more healthy touch to & are less aggressive with each other in contrast to those in Miami. Intriguing.

As for me, more massage & less stress for the holidays. But that's another subject!...

Wuame

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#24867 - 11/28/02 10:15 AM Re: Effects of sexual abuse lessened by Massage Therapy
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Here is a web address (sorry I can't figure out how to make it a direct link) for an excellent article, excerpts from Massage: A Career At Your Fingertips by Martin Ashley:

http://www.careeratyourfingertips.com/chilabu.htm

Those planning on going into massage therapy, especially with abuse survivors, like Don, will probably really appreciate this.

Those planning on going for massage therapy as abuse survivors will also find this extremely helpful I think.

While written for those going into massage therapy as a career, it helps us as potential clients know how massage could be for us & for the MT. It could also open up helpful discussion for better massage.

If nothing else one could give a potential MT the article ask them to read it & tell them what they think, and decide if that MT is right for them accordingly.

You don't even have to say you've been sexually abused, its about abuse in general, no need for any detail.

It may be worth looking at to enhance our understanding, whether we are looking for an MT or not...

Wuame

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#24868 - 11/28/02 11:23 AM Re: Effects of sexual abuse lessened by Massage Therapy
MrDon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/08/01
Posts: 957
Loc: Deltona, FL
Wuame,
Thanks for the info, I've got the page bookmarked!

The Touch Research Institute is wonderful in my opinion. I know that they are putting the "proof" or the "scientific" numbers to massage and not just massage, but touch. I am glad that there is such a place and only wish that I too could have experienced good touch as a child and as I grew up.

Last night I was actually thinking that what if parents just gave their kids a hug every day or maybe one in the morning and at night. A simple thing. Just think of a little child and how much affect that would have on their life for the future. Just thinking about this kind of blows my mind and yet our society tends to withdraw from other people. Once I get licensed I hope that I can volunteer my time with the Touch Research Institute so I can help to make a differance in the lives of these people.

Thanks again for the information. The article is very good.

Don

_________________________
In order to journey to new worlds, we must first be willing to lose site of the shore.

The Mind Body Thoughts Blog
http://mindbodythoughts.blogspot.com/

Check out my relaxing piano music from the heart!
http://www.donshetterly.com

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#24869 - 11/30/02 03:10 PM Re: Effects of sexual abuse lessened by Massage Therapy
Sleepy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/08/02
Posts: 288
Loc: Arizona, USA
MrDon,
My parents are complete emotional cripples. My dad experienced a lot of trauma early in his life and the way he dealt with it was by shutting his emotional life off. My mom is a passive person and defered everything to my dad. As a result, I had no emotional guidance and very little hugging. Kind of a cold environment in these terms. I've been very starved of this type of attention. I've often wondered, even before I realized I was sexually abused, what would I be like if my childhood wasn't so emotionally cold. It's pointless to dwell on this but now I need to figue out how to become more in touch with my emotions (ie--less co-dedependant).
mike

_________________________
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--Ursula K. Le Guin

"Mental health is a commitment to reality at all times."
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