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How Self-Care and My Infrared Sauna Blanket Help Me Navigate CPTSD and Fascia Pain

“I’m sure that other people around me knew that I was struggling, but I only shared this with a couple of people. People in my immediate physical ecosphere didn’t offer up any kind of empathy either. In fact, the exact opposite. Which I think made the condition even worse.”

Hello! Who are you?

Who am I? Great question… Let’s start with the basics.Β 

I am from the United States, and I’ve spent most of my life in Washington DC, but lived for a little bit in Florida. But I wound up becoming a digital nomad back in 2016. It was always my wild desire to travel the world and enjoy meeting other people in different cultures.

But I wound up settling in Switzerland after I met someone and we decided to ultimately get married.

For many years I’ve been involved in digital marketing and have loved my clients and my time in that niche, but due to health issues and the revelations that came about with my health and happiness, I wound up transitioning and opening a wellness company.

I have two dogs that passed away, but we have added five Pomeranians to our mix.

My passions are always traveling, exploring, meeting new people, and cultures, seeing new sites, partaking in the history of a location, and connecting with people and their stories.

Do I consider myself to be happy?

This is such a fantastic question. Overall, yes, but I think there are always ways that we’re striving to be better, so I feel like my happiness is always a work in progress.

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What is your struggle and when did it start?

I didn’t realize complex post-traumatic stress disorder even existed. And for me, it’s taken many years of struggle before I could understand myself and my experiences with the world.

It all had to have started back in childhood with my first traumatic experience, and like with most people, life has served up many more since.

I honestly thought my symptoms were related to chronic pain, that I was having some kind of health issue medically related to chronic pain symptoms.

And I experienced different things throughout my life and would just go look for a diagnosis, again physically related not mentally related. I hadn’t even realized that all these physical symptoms could manifest due to mental health struggles.

It manifested horrifically at the beginning of 2020. That’s when I became frozen. That’s how the doctor diagnosed me and said that I would need four days a week of physical therapy and probably a couple of years to get out of this condition.

But nobody gave me any reason beyond that. They had done a lot of medical testing and just couldn’t come up with anything other than I was frozen. Now at this time, I’m living in a foreign country. I had just moved here. I didn’t know the language and it was very hard to communicate.

How did this struggle make you feel at your worst moments?

My worst moment was when I didn’t want to live anymore. Every day, I woke up pissed and felt bad. Every day, I was thinking about my condition, and if this is what the rest of my life will be like. This had a massive impact on my happiness.Β 

I’m sure that other people around me knew that I was struggling, but I only shared this with a couple of people. People in my immediate physical ecosphere didn’t offer up any kind of empathy either. In fact, the exact opposite. Which I think made the condition even worse.

When those around you don’t really seem to give a shit, it’s fucked up. And so I think that just leads to a worsening of the condition and also worsening of the condition for the people around you.

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Was there a moment when you started to turn things around?

I know the exact moment that everything began to turn around. I was scrolling through social media and saw the word fascia. I can’t remember the tagline that was associated with the social media post. But for some reason, it sent me down the Google rabbit hole and it just sounded like what had been experiencing all this time.

In the post, they were talking about how fascia becomes frozen and hardened and can pull your body and cause pain and I was just like “oh my gosh I have to I have to explore this deeper”. And so I did.

I got myself a little sweat hut because I learned that with fascia, you need to heat it up.

Fascia is kind of like a glue stick: they are hard without heat. But once they heat up, they become pliable. So I got a little sweat hut that I set up in my office and started exploring different types of tools to help self-massage the fascia.

At this time, we were in lockdown so insurance had stopped paying for my physical therapy. So there was a gap for many, many months where I was just alone and festering with my thoughts. This makes me believe that my change is 100% a result of my own actions.

The medical community had said “We’ve done everything we can to try to figure it out, we don’t know what’s wrong with you.”

I will caveat this and say that nobody ever asked me about my mental health, stressful lifestyle, past traumas, or any of that. I was left on my own and so I’ve continued to overcome this struggle on my own too.

Once I started doing this, the chronic pain started to dissipate. I started to see changes inside and outside my body as well so I knew I was on the right track.

What steps did you take to overcome your struggle?

Now remember, I thought this all started with chronic pain and that’s what I was looking to fix. However, I found there were still past traumatic experiences and emotional triggers down the pipeline.

And that was a total game-changer for me.

The steps that I still use to this day to deal with my trifecta of chronic pain, fascia, and trauma are:

First, I hop in an infrared sauna blanket that I have constructed and manufactured. The heat is both calming and comforting. It heats you up from the inside out, so it’s slow, gradual and a nice experience.

I do my meditation while under my infrared sauna blanket. I get in a zero gravity position on the ground, and my infrared sauna blanket provides me with a womb-like experience. And for some of us, the last time we felt safe was probably in the womb.

The next part of the infrared sauna blanket is to heat up that fascia. Again, fascia is like hardened glue that needs to heat up and then you can massage and manipulate it into what you want. And so after I get out of the infrared sauna blanket, I move on to the next step.

Which is to self-massage. I have tested a lot in my journey and wound up manufacturing self-massage tools that are not too hard, especially if you have something like fibromyalgia or some other painful-to-touch experience with your body.

Last, but not least, I turn to journaling. Coming from a person like me with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, my memories are very fragmented. Journaling gives me a place to connect with the narratives that are locked deeply inside me. I work through it and overcome limiting beliefs and storylines that aren’t true anymore.

Have you shared any of this with people around you in real life?

I’m a talker, but even then, there were a lot of things that I never told anybody, especially just how dark my thoughts got. I never shared that and still really haven’t.

I only started sharing some things after I knew that I had found something that was going to help. And still, some people you just can’t openly share your mental health struggles with. They’ll dismiss you.

Even when sharing your physical health experiences, they dismiss you. So it’s really important to find people who can care, love, and surround you with the warmth that you need to get over any struggles.

I think that the most important thing is to have a safe environment with the people in your life. If you don’t, then it’s so much harder.

Now, openly sharing my mental health struggles and my physical health struggles has become my life’s work. Now that I’ve left my digital marketing career behind, helping people with their own struggles is everything to me.

If you could give a single piece of advice to someone else that struggles, what would that be?

To all who are struggling and have had their feelings dismissed. Or those who’ve been told that they’re imagining things. Or that you’ll never get better…

I want you to know that you’re not alone. You’re not.

There’s a major percentage of humanity that experiences and battles pain mentally and or physically. Normalizing conversations like this is one of the most important things we can do.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, YouTube channels, or other resources for you?

  • The Body Keeps Score is top of mind. It connected my trauma and the way my brain works to the pain in my body.

Where can we go to learn more about you?

You can find out more about my journey and the products I created over at

πŸ’‘ By the way: If you want to start feeling better and more productive, I’ve condensed the information of 100’s of our articles into a 10-step mental health cheat sheet here. πŸ‘‡

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Hugo Huijer AuthorLinkedIn Logo

Founder of Tracking Happiness, with over 100 interviews and a focus on practical advice, our content extends beyond happiness tracking. Hailing from the Netherlands, I’m a skateboarding enthusiast, marathon runner, and a dedicated data junkie, tracking my happiness for over a decade.

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