Thursday, January 10, 2013

Got PTSD? Try Yoga

Too many years ago to admit, I remember a Marine I told to take up Yoga. He thought I was out of my mind. "What's next? Knitting?" and he hung up the phone. A week later he called me and told me that he decided to try it and after the first class, he was willing to do it again. Since he didn't call me after that to chew me out, I can only assume it worked for him. The goal is to reteach the body to clam down. That's all. There is no magic spell in any of this and no one size fits all. The whole veteran has to be treated and that includes their minds, body and spirit.

If you cannot do Yoga because of physical problems, then try taking a walk with headphones plugged into calming music so that when you start to think about unpleasant things, you can refocus on the music. The goal is to calm down on the walk so heavy metal or rap won't help when you're doing it.

Some find healing in art, writing and martial arts. Meditation and Yoga have also been around for enough centuries that the benefits have been proven to be real.

What do Madonna, Matthew McConaughey, and Jennifer Aniston have in common with our veterans?
Huffington Post
Lisa Cypers Kamen, MA
Executive Director, Harvesting Happiness
January 9, 2013

Yoga. With this celebrity fitness secret now going mainstream, even our veterans are hitting the yoga mat. Why? To treat their Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It's the latest proof that, sometimes, a harmonious brain-body connection is the best medicine.

With more than one-third of our veterans suffering from PTSD, it's clear that the go-to therapies -- pills and prescriptions -- aren't solving the problem. But interestingly enough, research shows that trauma-sensitive yoga, which uses breathing, stretching and meditation, can help calm the portion of the brain that gets hyper-aroused during a stress episode -- no medication required.

If you've ever practiced yoga or meditation, this probably doesn't surprise you. Yoga has been known to have a cathartic effect, unlocking a person's repressed emotions. And in the case of PTSD, it can help a person shift his or her focus inward, away from the stress and trauma, by triggering the parasympathetic nervous system. Yoga isn't a substitute for warranted medical care, but it is an integrated, evidence-based strategy that will help people cope, heal, grow and thrive. read more here