(Charleston, SC – June 26, 2017) – A local massage therapist who is also a veteran with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder feels it is important to give back to her fellow vets who also suffer from it. Yolanda Claibourn, LMT, LE, is the owner of Claibourn’s Wellness & Massage in Charleston and is now certified as a healing hands provider through the Veteran Administration’s “Hands For Heroes” program which she signed up for a year ago. Now, local vets with PTSD can receive a free Swedish massage session from her. She says they are asking Congress to pass the HR 102 Act Expanding Health Care for Veterans to include massage.
Claibourn said she has done a lot of research on PTSD and realized “massage is a natural way to provide relief and comfort to someone through the art of touch and bodywork without drugs or invasive procedures.” Swedish massage in a quiet, safe, and calm setting can be very therapeutic to PTSD sufferers as it helps the patient relax and massage can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety associated with it. Massage therapy encourages one to achieve a trusting relationship with the massage therapy and others. During the initial intake for PTSD clients, the veteran may report symptoms such as dreams, nightmares, insomnia, difficulty in concentration, irritability, or feelings of or outbursts of anger, depression, suicidal thoughts, or gestures of self-destructive behavior. She said some do not respond to touch over parts or all of the body, with feelings of sadness, fear, despair, shame, guilt, or self-hatred symptoms of physical pain, migraines, fibromyalgia, or extreme myofascial tension.
Yolanda has been a massage therapist for several years and came to Charleston within the last few years by way of Seattle. She has always had a love for total body wellness as everyday life can be quite stressful. She says vets deserve a chance to decide on a holistic alternative as an intervention for their PTSD and physical disabilities. “While massage cannot cure PTSD, it can alleviate some of its symptoms such as anxiety,” she said and added that, with holistic treatment, veterans can enter the workforce and live a more fulfilling life. One client, Gregory C., was in the Navy for 33 years and has PTSD and says massage helps all of his PTSD ailments. “It helped me with my chronic pain, lower back, stroke, 3 hip replacements, my range of motion, mobility and overall well-being.”
“Our veterans have fought for our freedom and it's my duty to fight for them!” Yolanda said, adding her experience in working with vets at the many VA facilities helped her develop a passion for giving back which has always been therapeutic for me. Claibourn would like to see a bill passed so that massage can be a covered benefit with the VA and the private sector. Yolanda hopes to network with other providers, educate Congressional members, Health & Human Services, insurance providers and veterans that she would like to see Swedish massage as a covered service that is part of an integrative healthcare system with a holistic approach and offering this program as an expanded service to veterans. She says she envisions this “Hands for Heroes” program branched out into many locales.