A recent study indicates that effective, long-term healing is now available to soldiers and veterans through a process that may surprise you- yoga!
The benefits of relaxation, maintaining a positive mindset, and living in the present moment have been a topic for generations. Could yoga help as a permanent solution for combat-relating trauma and PTSD symptoms within our military personnel? We can now provide evidence that this combination is the most powerful solution to reversing the effects of combat-related stress and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
An estimated 2.7 million American veterans and active duty service members suffer from PTSD as of 2014. Surprisingly, over half of these men and women neglect to seek treatment in their lifetime. Among those that have confronting their condition, only a fraction have receives treatment that has been proven effective.
However, scientific studies show that yoga has a positive, life changing effect on soldiers battling PTSD, anxiety and depression. Military members that participate in yoga have demonstrated a permanent decrease in PTSD symptoms such as reduced levels of anxiety and intrusive thoughts, and reduced feelings of anger or frustration. They have also shown signs of improving being able to stay in the present moment, rather than anticipate future problems or replay past traumas.
The most alarming results conclude that these courses improve sleep patterns among deployed soldiers and veterans. Improving these areas also enhances their daily performance overseas, where their mental and physical well-being are essential for survival.
A study by Air Force Major Jon Greuel is the first ever yoga-like study held in a deploying environment. The controlled trial consisted of 70 random U.S. Air Force and Army personnel, with a median age of 32. Three times a week for three weeks, half the volunteers participated in structured yoga classes, while the others served as the control group. However, Major Gruel stated that he had an eye-opening discovery within the first week of the trial. He witnessed the once sleep-deprived infantrymen using deep breathing techniques to relax, fall asleep, and remain in a deep, uninterrupted state of sleep- even through the piercing sounds of machine gun fire. This method is considered the most efficient, low-risk option to manage combat-related stress and PTSD symptoms among veterans and active duty members.
Unlike most yoga programs available, this method has been specially designing for people dealing with combat-related trauma. Instructors are taught to provide a safe, relaxing environment that reduces potential triggers associated with combat stress. To mitigate these triggers and create a state of calmness. Instructors also use Zen meditation music throughout the classes to drown out the sounds of aircraft and gunfire. Members are using the power of the mind to manage their emotions safely by using positive affirmations. Including “I am safely in the present moment” and “I forgive myself.” Calming poses and breathing techniques help to balance the nervous system, creating a steady, relaxed state of mind. By combining breathing, movement, and mindfulness. We can create a relaxation response.
Yoga focuses on the present moment, integrating body, mind. And breath to achieve mental and physical results among civilians and military members. The neurophysiological effects of pairing positive affirmations with trauma-specific poses re-writes the negative thought patterns. They have also developed in response to the inevitable combat-related stress in a deployed location.
If yoga and meditation can benefit the bravest men and women in the world. Imagine what improvements it could have in your life. Give yoga a try- You may be astounding by the results!