I attended orientation to volunteer with the Returning Veterans Project, Nov. 16, 2011. I have been grateful for every client I have seen since. RVP is a non-profit that provides free counseling and other alternative and complementary health services for vets returning from the Iraq/Afghanistan wars and their families. They provide returning veterans with needed and much appreciated community-based services that allow vets to reintegrate into civilian life and heal.
The Returning Veterans Project needs more massage therapists and somatic providers. If you are a massage therapist, acupuncturist, chiropractor, or naturopath, and want to put your hands and knowledge to be of service where it is needed, and where it can make a difference for our entire community, RVP could use your skills and heart.
You can provide a safe space with the power of touch when someone has experienced military challenges and trauma, and is struggling to reintegrate into civilian life. It is a choice to be present, a choice to love, a choice to hold a state of deep peace. You probably do this anyway, with your clients. It is no different with returning veterans.
It is sometimes hard for these vets to trust, especially if you are not familiar with the military culture that they have been immersed in. But you don’t need to be part of military culture or have a degree in psychology to respond to this need with a compassion that calls forth your existing skills.
When you describe your services on the RVP website, you can limit what issues you will focus on, and list yourself as taking or not taking new clients. For example, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and PTSD are common, but you might prefer to focus on releasing sore muscles or pain management. The vets will have access to excellent mental health providers through RVP for psychological issues. Our skills with touch therapies offer pain relief, stress reduction, improvements in mild depression and mild TBI, and better sleep. Our touch offers the body-based healing they often need.
It’s not just for the vets themselves. You can encourage relaxation and self-care in the spouse of a veteran who is caring for a husband with PTSD while also raising the children and keeping the family together. You can provide stress relief to a newly discharged vet who is going to school and supporting a family. You can calm a vet so she can breathe more easily when she is competing for her first civilian job. Or relieve pain and help relax the pregnant wife of a veteran who still has night terrors. You can awaken the spirit to heal in someone who wondered if it were ever possible. Right now, more returning veterans are dying of suicide than were killed in combat in these wars. We can be part of changing this.
LMT’s, or other service providers, I would be happy to talk to you if you have questions.
Rosi Goldsmith, BA, LMT, DAFNS