The human body is an amazing work of art; perhaps no more evident then in its split-second ability to initiate chemical changes that prepare us to defend against, or avoid, imminent danger. This healthy “fight-or-flight” adaptation of the sympathetic nervous system originates in a part of the brain known as the amygdala, and results in the launch of cascading hormones throughout the entire body, that make it possible for us to perform instinctual, sometimes Herculean, responses to the situation.
With post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) though, this natural reaction has been changed or damaged. People living with PTSD may feel frightened even when danger is not evident.
PTSD can develop following a terrifying experience involving physical, emotional and/or mental harm. The individual with PTSD may have been the one who was harmed, or may have witnessed a harmful event endured by loved ones or even strangers. Symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, insomnia, anger, depression, substance abuse, self-isolation and/or uncontrollable thoughts of the event. At its worse, PTSD makes it literally impossible to function in the world.
Although many people equate PTSD only in relation to war veterans, it can be triggered from a variety of trauma-inducing ordeals, such as mugging, rape, torture, being kidnapped or held captive, child abuse, car accidents, train wrecks, plane crashes, bombings, or natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes.
A fair amount of research has been conducted on the emotional and mental effects of reflexology on those suffering from PTSD. In this study conducted by Academy grad Darlene Torroll, the goal was to investigate whether reflexology could help restore functioning in areas of physical complaint.