Posts Tagged ‘OEF/OIF Veterans’

Veterans speak out on post-traumatic stress, offer a proven way to heal PTSD

July 18, 2012

Jerry Yellin, WWII Veteran and author of four books, speaks with fellow vet Luke Jensen on how they survived PTSD.  KTVO’S Kate Allt

FAIRFIELD, IOWA — Across the country, more and more veterans are returning home from war with symptoms of post-traumatic stress. Veterans who have been home for decades still struggle with traumatic experiences and memories.

Two Iowa veterans are inviting all soldiers from all wars and their families to the Sondheim Center in Fairfield, Iowa on July 28 to hear how a unique lesson went miles to improve the quality of their lives.

Jerry Yellin is not only a veteran of World War II and the author of four books, he has dedicated his life to helping veterans of all wars and their families. Yellin met Vietnam vet Ed Schloeman in 2010 and after both of them learned Transcendental Meditation, and saw the immediate benefits to their health and well-being, Operation Warrior Wellness was born.

Yellin knows first-hand what combat can do to a person’s mental and physical health.

“On August 14, the war was over and I came home and I was an empty shell at the age of 21,” he said. “Combat took everything out of me. I had a pure purpose for life, pure purpose for living, pure purpose for serving my government, serving my country, and then no purpose of life for 30 years. Stressed out, many jobs, and then I learned Transcendental Meditation, and I got my life back. There are hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of families – not only soldiers – but families, suffering from post traumatic stress and stress is relieved by Transcendental Meditation.”

Yellin firmly believes that Transcendental Meditation, or TM, saved his life. His, and many others. He has saved countless testimonials from veterans across the country who have seen the effects of TM work wonders on them and their families.

Luke Jensen of Des Moines is just one example. He returned from Afghanistan three years ago a broken man.

“I tried many, many things that did not work for me,” Jensen said. “And my family continued to push me to try new things, to get help when I first got back from Afghanistan. I wasn’t having any luck with anything or getting relief from anything until I learned TM with Jerry. It can change your life, and it did for myself and for Jerry and for many other veterans who went through – I know veterans who went through much worse, more experiences than I did and it helped them.”

Even scientists say TM has a relieving effect on the brain, and helps get rid of traumatic and stressful experiences stored into memory. Dr. Fred Travis, at the Center for Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition at Maharishi University, said the brain is not constant and unchanging. Rather, experience changes the brain, and oftentimes, traumatic or stressful experiences leave a permanent effect on the brain, and the amygdala – the fear center – is permanently turned on.

The way to reverse that change in the brain is to offer a direct opposite experience, one of calmness and deep thought.

“What Transcendental Meditation seems to do is turns off the amygdala and suddenly the person – remember, the brain is the interface between inner and outer – so now suddenly the person can see the situation in a different way,” said Dr. Travis. “This is what we see in the research of veterans of the Vietnam era, of Iraq, of Afghanistan, is the process of transcending from TM helps them very quickly reduce flashbacks, eliminate the anger and anxiety inside allowing them to sleep, allowing their heart and feelings to flow towards other people.”

“It helped me become a person, helped me become a better person, better husband, better father, a better person with a purpose in life,” Yellin said. “And I would like every veteran to expose themselves to this modality of Transcendental Meditation.”

This news report aired Wednesday, July 18, 2012 on ABC 3 and CBS 3.2.

To learn more about the July 28, 2 pm event – Healing the Hidden Wounds of War – at the Sondheim in Fairfield, or to register, visit http://operationwarriorwellness.org/iowa.

Find out more here: Healing the Hidden Wounds of War: open forum for Iowa veterans and their families affected by PTSD, sponsored by Operation Warrior Wellness

Here is a wonderful  interview with Jerry Yellin and Lisa Cypers Kamen of Harvesting Happiness Talk Radio July 18th. You can listen online to Jerry Yellin, Operation Warrior Wellness and Debbie Gregory, Military Connection or download the the podcast.

Other news coverage:  WHO-TV 13 News: WARRIOR WELLNESS: Healing Hidden Wounds with Meditation for Veterans  |  Des Moines Register: Fairfield and Ames war veterans team up to bring meditation (TM) to fellow Iowa vets with PTSD  |  Fairfield Ledger cover article by Diane Vance: Combat stress subject of public forum Saturday Story County Veteran Once Suicidal Finds Relief from PTSD with Transcendental Meditation: AmesPatch article by Jessica Miller

TM Reduces Veterans PTSD Symptoms by 50%

June 1, 2011

Veterans Show a 50% Reduction in PTSD Symptoms
After 8 Weeks of Transcendental Meditation

WASHINGTON | Wed, June 1, 2011, 9:00am EDT

Veterans of the Iraq/Afghanistan wars showed a 50 percent reduction in their symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after just eight weeks of practicing the stress-reducing Transcendental Meditation technique, according to a pilot study published in the June 2011 issue of Military Medicine (Volume 176, Number 6).

The study evaluated five veterans, ages 25- to 40-years-old, who had served in Iraq, Afghanistan or both from 10 months to two years involving moderate or heavy moderate combat.

The study found that Transcendental Meditation produced significant reductions in stress and depression, and marked improvements in relationships and overall quality of life. Furthermore, the authors reported that the technique was easy to perform and was well accepted by the veterans.

The Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) was the primary measure for assessing the effectiveness of TM practice on PTSD symptoms. CAPS is considered by the Department of Veterans Affairs as the “gold standard” for PTSD assessment and diagnosis for both military Veteran and civilian trauma survivors.

The paper’s senior researcher, Norman Rosenthal, M.D., is clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School and director of research at Capital Clinical Research Associates in Rockville, Maryland. Dr. Rosenthal was the first to describe seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and pioneered the use of light therapy as a treatment.

“Even though the number of veterans in this study was small, the results were very impressive,” Rosenthal said. “These young men were in extreme distress as a direct result of trauma suffered during combat, and the simple and effortless Transcendental Meditation technique literally transformed their lives.”

The findings were similar to those from a randomized controlled study of Vietnam veterans conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. In that study, published in the Journal of Counseling and Development in 1985, after three months of twice-daily TM practice, the veterans had fewer symptoms than those receiving   conventional psychotherapy of the day.  In fact, most of the TM-treated subjects required no further treatment.

“Even though the combat experiences of OEF/OIF veterans and Vietnam veterans are quite different, the fact that our study corroborates the results of the previous study tells us that this technique has the potential to be an effective tool against PTSD and combat stress, regardless of combat situation,” explained Sarina Grosswald, EdD, co-researcher on the study.

Rosenthal hypothesizes that Transcendental Meditation helps people with PTSD because regular practice produces long-term changes in sympathetic nervous system activity, as evidenced by decreased blood pressure, and lower reactivity to stress. “Transcendental Meditation quiets down the nervous system, and slows down the ‘fight-or-flight’ response,” he said.  People with PTSD show overactive fight-or-flight responses, making them excellent candidates for Transcendental Meditation.

Rosenthal points out that there is an urgent need to find effective and cost-effective treatments for veterans with combat-related PTSD. “The condition is common, affecting an estimated one in seven deployed soldiers and Marines, most of whom do not get adequate treatment.  So far, only one treatment—simulation exposure to battleground scenes—has been deemed effective, but it requires specialized software and hardware, trained personnel and is labor intensive.

“Based on our study and previous findings, I believe Transcendental Meditation certainly warrants further study for combat-related PTSD,” says Rosenthal.

Rosenthal is the author of a new book, “Transcendence: Healing and Transformation through Transcendental Meditation,” which will be released by Tarcher Penguin on June 2, 2011. For those wanting to interview Dr. Rosenthal, contact his publicist, Dean Draznin Communications, Inc., 641-472-2257, dean@drazninpr.com.

Results of the new “PTSD and Meditation” study will be announced at special presentations: Tuesday evening, June 7, in New York City, and Wednesday evening, June 8, in Washington, DC.

Watch: Reduction of PTSD Symptoms in Veterans with Transcendental Meditation.

FACT SHEET

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

  • A new report paints a stark picture of the toll on the U.S. military of almost a decade of war: higher stress and lower morale. The report, released Thursday, May 19, 2011, at the Pentagon, relied on questions to soldiers and Marines in Afghanistan in July and August of last year and compared responses with similar surveys in 2005 and 2009. The report noted “significant decline in reports of individual morale” as well as “acute stress rates significantly higher” than in earlier years. Source: CNN: New Pentagon study finds psychological toll from years of fighting.
  • VA’s suicide hotline receives 10,000 calls per month from active and retired servicemen. There are 950 suicide attempts per month by veterans receiving care from the VA. 18 veterans commit suicide each day, 5 of them are under the care of the VA. Source: Army Times: 18 veterans commit suicide each day.
  • The Rand Corporation’s study “Invisible Wounds of War” revealed a disturbing truth about the health of our military as recently as 2008:  Over 300,000 returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD or major depression.  According to the Rand report, these “invisible wounds” take a high toll—impacting veterans’ quality of life, hindering their performance at work, straining their families, and placing them at greater risk for violent and self-destructive behaviors. The economic cost of these disorders is equally great—reaching as high as $6 billion over 2 years. Yet, despite the heavy toll of PTSD and depression, only half of affected veterans seek care, and only a third of those who do, receive adequate treatment. Thus, over 80% of affected veterans remain without needed help.

The Transcendental Meditation Technique

  • The Transcendental Meditation technique is an effortless technique practiced 10-20 minutes twice a day sitting comfortably with the eyes closed.
  • TM is not a religion or philosophy and involves no new beliefs or change in lifestyle.
  • Over 350 peer-reviewed research studies on the TM technique confirm a range of benefits for mind, body and behavior.
  • Several studies have compared the effects of different meditation practices and found that Transcendental Meditation provides deeper relaxation and is more effective at reducing anxiety, depression and hypertension than other forms of meditation and relaxation. In addition, no other meditation practice shows the widespread coherence throughout all areas of the brain that is seen with Transcendental Meditation.
  • The Transcendental Meditation technique is taught in the United States by a non-profit, educational organization.

Source: EurekAlert! Veterans show a 50 percent reduction in PTSD symptoms after 8 weeks of Transcendental Meditation.
The Huffington Post: Top Research Psychiatrist Promotes Meditation for Healing and Transformation.
Fox News.com: Could Transcendental Meditation Help Veterans Suffering From Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
The Epoch Times by Ginger Chan: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Reduced by Meditation.
Insidermedicine: Transcendental Meditation May Help Veterans with PTSD (Video)
ABC News/Health: ABC News: Meditation Heals Military Vets With PTSD
Medical News Today: Veteran PTSD Symptoms Significantly Reduced After 8 Weeks Of Transcendental Meditation
Click here for more articles and news videos on TM and PTSD posted on The Uncarved Blog.


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