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The war within: Overcoming trauma, veterans find strength in meditation and yoga
by Samantha Michaels
Medill on the Hill Translate This Article
5 March 2010
On 5 March 2010 Medill on the Hill reported:
The Transcendental Meditation Technique offers an effective treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, according to experts and veterans.
It is a joy for Global Good News service to feature this news, which indicates the success of the life-supporting programmes Maharishi has designed to bring
fulfilment to the field of health.
The article highlights the story of veteran and Transcendental Meditation practitioner David George.
'Like a growing number of veterans, this 26-year-old infantryman was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a severe anxiety condition which results from trauma. Estimated to afflict more than 300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, PTSD is often treated with counseling and medication,' the article reports.
'But in George's case, salvation came with meditation, not medication,' the article continues.
'With meditation, I had a break from the anxiety attack that had become my life,' Medill quotes George as saying.
The article reports on several kinds of meditation and yoga used to treat PTSD, including the Transcendental Meditation Programme.
'A number of military physicians also believe meditation can help veterans recover from PTSD,' the article states, adding that 'some experts say Transcendental Meditation (TM) is particularly beneficial.
'TM creates the brain waves associated with settled-ness,' explains Dr Sarina Grosswald in the article. 'As you experience it over and over, these brain connections get stronger, and the connections related to trauma begin to fade away,' she continues.
Dr Grosswald, the article states, is 'the executive director of PTSD and stress-related disorders for the David Lynch Foundation'.
'Severe stress can shut down the prefrontal cortex, which is like the commander-in-chief of the brain,' the article quotes Dr Grosswald as saying.
The Medill article explains, 'During TM, the body reaches a level of [deep] rest . . . undergoing a reduction in heart rate, breath rate and blood flow to the limbs. At the same time, blood flow to the brain increases, reactivating the prefrontal cortex and improving communication with other areas of the brain.'
The holistic benefits of Transcendental Meditation are also described. David George says that 'TM relieved his PTSD symptoms, but it also led to less expected improvements. After learning the technique, he became a faster typist and a better drummer. Dyslexic since childhood, he noticed that reading was more pleasurable. He stopped drinking and began to prioritize himself,' the article reports.
'I really do treat myself like my best friend now,' he says in the article. 'Medications took away the symptoms, but they didn't leave me the same. TM has left me better.'
'We should be exploring TM. It's a stone that has remained unturned,' the article quotes Colonel Brian Rees as saying. Colonel Rees is 'a medical corps command surgeon who served in Afghanistan and Iraq', the article states.
In 2011, the US Department of Defense says $1 billion of its yearly budget will be allotted to disorders such as PTSD. 'As the number of PTSD cases skyrockets and the military devotes more funds to treating them, George's story provides a glimpse into the promise of alternative therapies like meditation and yoga,' the article states.
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