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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Yoga and other stuff: Day 22 of National PTSD Awareness Month.

If you Google PTSD and Yoga you will find a huge number of resources. I first heard of using Yoga with vets at a Ranger Reunion where I was giving a talk on PTSD years ago. MaryAnne Colledge, the wife of one of the Rangers, gave a yoga workshop for all of us. The next morning, one of the Rangers told her he has slept through the night for the first time in decades. It was amazing to him that something so simple could make that kind of difference. That is what I love about the search for the things that help YOU. You never know what will help.
Yoga involves stretching and breathing. You'd think that would have nothing to do with PTSD, but hyperarousal means tense coiled muscles which the vet may not even be aware of. The body develops amnesia about what a relaxed state is and how to breathe in a relaxed way.
Of course Yoga is not the only way that helps people. Other people get relief from running. Brian Castner's memoir, The Long Walk, talks about how running helped him. Some places provide traumatized vets with horses. Google PTSD and horses for more information.
Service dogs are another new aid to veterans with PTSD. I will put a link at the end of this article. BTW, there is a CYA article on the website saying they don't know if they really help. "Evidence based" therapy is better. Since a lot of the evidence for evidence-based therapy was gotten from civilians or very short term follow ups on vets who didn't drop out, and the drop out rates are huge, I don't think they have any evidence. Veterans need to be heard, not run through a program to fix them. They need to know they can come back if things get worse, and they need a wide variety of approaches because people are different!
Here is a quote from a book published in 1917, Shell Shock and Its Lessons, bu GE Smith and TH Pear, two British doctors.
"The patient must be approached without prejudice and the doctor who wishes to be of real help to him must make up his mind to examine and ponder over the sufferers mental wound with as much, nay, even more care and expenditure of time than would be given to physical injuries...the absolute necessity of obtaining and understanding the patient's past history, before and during the war. A dozen cases sent back from the front as shell-shock may prove to possess not a single feature in common..." In other words, pay attention to the person in front of you and forget your theories.
More tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Tai Chi and Qi Gong are also excellent for both the veteran and his/her partner. This is a wonderful article about that topic: