Posts Tagged ‘Post Traumatic Stress Disorder’

Veterans who learn TM find relief from PTSD. New study shows symptoms had reduced by 80% to below the clinical level in one month

January 11, 2018

SUMMARY: A study published in Military Medicine showed that after 30 days of practicing the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique, 80% of the 46 veterans and active-duty personnel no longer had PTSD. All participants had been clinically diagnosed with PTSD using a standard assessment. By comparison, standard treatments for PTSD—prolonged exposure therapy, cognitive processing therapy, and medication—are only partially successful: approximately two-thirds of patients receiving cognitive processing therapy or prolonged exposure still have PTSD after treatment.¹

PTSD Graph (figure 1)

Participants in the study went from an average PCL-5 pretest score of 51.52 (with a score of 33 or above indicating PTSD) to an average posttest score of 23.43 after 30 days of practicing Transcendental Meditation (TM).

Veterans of the war in Vietnam, the Gulf War, Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) found significant relief from their symptoms as a result of practicing the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique, according to a new study published in Military Medicine. (PDF

The 41 veterans and 5 active-duty soldiers in the study had been diagnosed with clinical levels of PTSD, as measured by the PTSD Checklist-Civilian (PCL-5). After one month, 87% had a clinically significant decrease of more than 10 points. The reduction was so great that 37 participants (80%) had their symptoms reduced to below the clinical level, meaning that they were no longer considered to have a disorder.

The effect size, which is a measure of the magnitude of a treatment, was 1.91. This is unusually high, with a value of .8 considered to be a strong effect. In addition, the very low p-value (p < 0.0001) indicates these results were probably not due to chance. The study included a 90-day posttest; PTSD symptoms continued to improve.

“It’s remarkable that after just one month we would see such a pronounced decrease in symptoms, with four out of five veterans no longer considered to have a serious problem with PTSD,” said lead author Robert Herron.

More effective than standard treatment

By way of comparison, the standard treatment, which entails veterans attending counseling and re-experiencing their trauma as part of the therapy, is typically only partially successful, with approximately two-thirds still suffering from PTSD after being treated.

“Transcendental Meditation is very easy to do and results come quickly,” said James Grant, Director of Programs for TM for Veterans, which provided partial funding for this study. “TM promotes self sufficiency – it’s a tool that the veteran can use for life, on his or her own.”

In addition, research has shown that Transcendental Meditation has a positive benefit for many of the conditions associated with PTSD, such as high anxiety, insomnia, depression, and high blood pressure.

“Because it works on the neurophysiological level to reduce stress, it has broader impact than cognitively-based therapies,” he said.

Veterans able to help themselves

An interesting facet of the study was that the veterans were recruited through media advertising rather than through a veterans hospital.

“The importance of this study is that it shows that veterans are able to help themselves,” said lead author Robert Herron. “After learning about the opportunity to participate in the study, they went to local Transcendental Meditation centers to be instructed in the practice.”

Dr. Herron said that because of their huge caseload, the Veterans Administration hasn’t been able to help all veterans in a timely manner. And veterans are often in desperate need of help.

Veteran practicing Transcendental Meditation #1.png

Veteran practicing Transcendental Meditation

“The veterans involved were pleased that they were able to do this on their own, and no doubt the VA hospitals appreciate that there are therapeutic approaches that can be undertaken without the costly intensive care of a therapist that treatment typically entails,” he said.

Dr. Grant said some veterans are reluctant to go to counseling because of the perceived stigma, but that there’s no stigma associated with meditation, which is widely practiced by healthy people.

Practiced 20 minutes twice a day

The participants learned the standard Transcendental Meditation technique, which is practiced 20 minutes twice a day. The study found that the veterans who practiced twice a day as recommended had greater benefits than those who practiced once a day.

This approach to meditation, which was introduced in the West by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi beginning in the late 1950s, has been widely researched over the past 50 years, with over 400 peer-reviewed studies. It is unique in that it doesn’t entail contemplation or concentration and is easy to learn and effortless to practice.

“Researchers have been calling for new approaches to PTSD treatments, and Transcendental Meditation seems to be particularly effective,” Dr. Grant said. “Veterans who elect to learn Transcendental Meditation themselves can find significant reductions in PTSD. The results are promising and suggest that this is a treatment modality that deserves more rigorous study as a potential treatment for PTSD.”

DoD supports research on TM

The current study follows four previous studies on veterans that suggested a benefit for PTSD. Because of these promising findings, the U.S. Department of Defense has supported a randomized controlled trial involving 210 veterans that is now nearing completion.

“The evidence is mounting that Transcendental Meditation is an effective treatment for PTSD,” said Colonel Brian Rees, MD, coauthor of the current study. Dr. Rees was the lead researcher on two earlier studies on Congolese refugees suffering from PTSD, and found a significant benefit after just 10 days of TM practice.

Watch a video conference held at the US Institute of Peace on Dec 2016, Exploring the Science of Meditation on Trauma, Stress, and the Brain: Military Panel, where leading experts in the field of military and veteran health discussed the benefits of utilizing TM in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.

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Funding for veterans to learn the Transcendental Meditation technique in this study was provided by the Wege Foundation of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Watch veterans describe their PTS symptoms and how TM changed their lives in this video made by the David Lynch Foundation: Real PTS Relief for our Veterans.

A more recent DLF video, Training from the Inside: Treating PTS with Transcendental Meditation, appears in a report on the study published in Issue 20 of Enjoy TM News: Military Medicine: New Study Shows Veterans Gain Dramatic Relief from PTSD Symptoms | 80 percent dropped below the PTSD threshold after just 30 days of TM practice.

Peter Swan, host of Maharishi’s Global Family Chat, interviewed Robert Herron about his study (Jan 15, 2018): Transcendental Meditation Reduces PTSD Symptoms.

1. Steenkamp MM, Litz BT, Hoge CW, Marmar CR: Psychotherapy for military-related PTSD: A review of randomized clinical trials. Journal of the American Medical Association 2015; 314(5): 489–500. (PDF)

2. Robert E Herron, Ph.D., MBA, Brian Rees, M.D., MPH, MC, USAR (Ret.): The Transcendental Meditation Program’s Impact on the Symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder of Veterans: An Uncontrolled Pilot Study. Military Medicine, 29 December 2017.

Source: EurekAlert!: Veterans who learn Transcendental Meditation find relief from PTSD, new study shows.

 

Iowa Public Radio reports on how far we’ve come treating PTSD in Veterans, from lobotomies to TM

March 27, 2014

Iowa Public Radio news correspondent Rick Fredericksen reports on Veterans: Lobotomies to Meditation

Listen to today’s (March 27, 2014) Iowa Public Radio report on how Iowa Veterans have been historically treated for what is now known as PTSD — from lobotomies, to drugs and therapy, to finally a more benign approach, that of meditation, specifically Transcendental Meditation.

Iowa Public Radio correspondent Rick Fredericksen produced an impressive historical report on the subject. Early attempts to deal with this misunderstood medical problem were crude and frightening. Introducing TM as a viable option shows you how far we’ve come in dealing more humanely with Veterans suffering from PTSD!

It aired twice this morning with a third broadcast on All Things Considered this afternoon at 4:50pm CST. You can listen to the 7:30 minute report online http://bit.ly/QjMY00, where you can also see a 3-photo slideshow, and link to the Wall Street Journal investigation.

Dan Gannon, IDVA, meditates in IPR studio

Marine veteran Daniel Gannon meditates in the IPR studios.

Interviews with meditating Iowa veterans include Luke Jensen, Afghanistan veteran; Vietnam veteran Daniel Gannon, Iowa Dept of Veterans Affairs; and Jerry Yellin, WWII veteran, and national TM advocate for veterans.

Rick Fredericksen did a fantastic job! What a testament to TM, and boost for MUM, gearing up to welcome veterans as students!

This story is also reported on the TM Blog: PTSD Treatments: From Lobotomies to Meditation.

PTSD Treatments: From Lobotomies to Meditation
PTSD Treatments: From Lobotomies to Meditation

Related news items:

Matt Kelley of Radio Iowa interviews Jerry Yellin about an Iowa Veterans Summit solution to PTSD

Military Leaders to Promote Meditation at Iowa Summit to Help Reduce Veteran Suicide Epidemic

See video highlights of the Iowa Veterans Summit – PTSD and Transcendental Meditation

AFP report: War veterans say Transcendental Meditation could help with PTSD

 

Training from the Inside: Treating PTSD with TM

November 11, 2012

Training from the Inside: Treating PTSD with Transcendental Meditation

“I deal with pain every day. I have nerve problems in my leg and the PTSD that the doctors diagnosed me with…functioning becomes impossible, lack of sleep, your work ethic sucks, you can’t focus at work, you can’t do anything, everybody pisses you off…it’s different for everybody. Memories saturate your mind…for me every day is a constant reminder — you relive the same crap over and over and over.” – Sgt James Thrasher, USMC

“I myself have been deployed eight times and been to combat four times. I was diagnosed with PTSD, depression, insomnia. We fight through whatever problems we have, we suck it up, and I did that for many many years. The trauma that I’ve seen the situations that I’ve been through…you take all of that stuff and you put it in a bag and we keep filling up our bag with all these problems rather than dealing with them. – GySgt Richard Wilson, USMC

“What peaked my interest in TM was all the research that’s been done and how incredibly effective it is for trauma, stress…the evidence now is that in combat stress the trauma actually changes the brain so that the ability to self-regulate isn’t there. Meditation helps with information processing, helps with self-regulation. Here we have another tool that is fabulous and they can do for themselves.” – Anna Benson, PhD, Clinical Psychologist

“I was interested in the TM program but I was skeptical at the same time. The power of the TM meditation…it really came out fast and it was surprising to me. Having that inner peace after meditation really really emboldened me to deal with things that I’d been just kind of stuffing away. So to be able to have relief from agitation, have relief from anger, frustration, sleeplessness, alcoholism, drug addiction…that’s huge.” – Sgt James Thrasher, USMC

Uploaded by on Aug 28, 2012

See updated article with photos by Mario Orsatti posted on the TM Blog December 13, 2012: U.S. Marines Talk About the Effect of TM on PTSD.

For more information on the David Lynch Foundation’s Operation Warrior Wellness program please visit http://operationwarriorwellness.org.

For more information on the Transcendental Meditation technique please visit http://tm.org.

Since 2005 the David Lynch Foundation has shared Transcendental Meditation with our most stressed populations. The David Lynch Foundation runs entirely on donations and there is a long list of veterans and sufferers of post-traumatic stress eager to participate.

If you were inspired by this video and would like to make a donation please visit: http://www.operationwarriorwellness.org/how-to-help. Your donations will be used in 3 ways—to help active duty military and veterans suffering from PTS, cadets in training and activated soldiers, and family members of retired and active service personnel. Thank you!

Related news: Soledad O’Brien interviews Russell Simmons and Bob Roth of the David Lynch Foundation on TM for Vets with PTS on CNN’s Starting Point | Military Leaders to Promote Meditation at Iowa Summit to Help Reduce Veteran Suicide EpidemicMatt Kelley of Radio Iowa interviews Jerry Yellin about an Iowa Veterans Summit solution to PTSD | See video highlights of the Iowa Veterans Summit – PTSD and Transcendental Meditation | KTVO News: How one soldier regained his life with help from WWII veteran and TM for PTSDFairfield and Ames war veterans team up to bring meditation (TM) to fellow Iowa vets with PTSD | Mark Newman: Courier: Iowa soldier seeks peace of mind through meditation and medicationMilitary veterans speak on need to increase resiliency: by Diane Vance, Fairfield Ledger | Story County Veteran Once Suicidal Finds Relief from PTSD with Transcendental Meditation: AmesPatch article by Jessica Miller | Veterans speak out on post-traumatic stress, offer a proven way to heal PTSD | Healing the Hidden Wounds of War: open forum for Iowa veterans and their families affected by PTSD, sponsored by Operation Warrior Wellness | Post Traumatic Stress and How Transcendental Meditation Can Help [Infographic] | Meditation Improves Performance at Military University | Meditation Saves A Veteran From PTSD and SuicideDr. Oz on the Benefits of the TM Technique

Matt Kelley of Radio Iowa interviews Jerry Yellin about an Iowa Veterans Summit solution to PTSD

October 11, 2012

Veteran shares story in hopes of helping others deal with impact of war

October 11, 2012 By

Jerry Yellin

A study finds more veterans die by suicide every year than are killed annually in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A World War Two fighter pilot from southeast Iowa is telling his story today at an Iowa Veterans Summit in hopes more veterans can be saved and find peace.

Eighty-eight-year-old Jerry Yellin, of Fairfield, says he joined the service as an 18-year-old in February of 1942 and, in his words, “I learned how to kill.”

“I flew P-51s in combat over Japan,” Yellin says. “I flew with 16 guys who didn’t come back. One day, I had a pure purpose of living and the next day the war was over and I had no purpose of living. I came home and I was an empty soul. I had no ambition, no direction.”

Yellin says he “wandered for 30 years” and suffered from addiction until he learned Transcendental Meditation in 1975 and “got my life back.”

“It was just as easy as that,” Yellin says. “A very simple technique, not a philosophy, not a belief. Not what you think but how you think. It puts you into the zone of life, twice a day, 20 minutes a day.” Yellin is now the national co-chairman of Operation Warrior Wellness and he’s among the featured speakers at the summit in West Des Moines.

He says more veterans and their families are turning to meditation to ease the trauma of combat and to pave the way to a healthier life. “It’s a very inexpensive modality to remove stress,” Yellin says.

“It’s a 5,000-year-old traditional warrior’s way of learning to cope with stress.” Yellin says he suffered from “shell shock” for three decades after the end of World War Two, but it wasn’t something that was considered “manly” to discuss. Today, the condition is known as PTSD.

“Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a civilian term,” Yellin says. “I would like to see it changed to Post-Combat Stress Injury because it is a mental injury.” He says PTSD is now blamed for 18 veterans’ suicides daily. The Iowa Veterans Summit and luncheon begins at noon at the West Des Moines Marriott.

A release says it will present the research and clinical applications of Transcendental Meditation for reducing stress, PTSD, substance abuse and suicide, depression and enhancing resilience and performance.

Learn more by calling 866-962-0108 or visit: www.operationwarriorwellness.org.

Audio: Radio Iowa’s Matt Kelley interviews Jerry Yellin 5:36.

See Military Leaders to Promote Meditation at Iowa Summit to Help Reduce Veteran Suicide Epidemic.

See video highlights of the Iowa Veterans Summit – PTSD and Transcendental Meditation.

Military Leaders to Promote Meditation at Iowa Summit to Help Reduce Veteran Suicide Epidemic

October 4, 2012

 Military Leaders Promote Meditation to Reduce Suicide
Epidemic Among Veterans

VA Funds Studies on PTSD; Iowa Summit to Showcase Benefits

Eighteen veterans commit suicide every day—
a horrific consequence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
More veterans die by suicide every year than are killed annually in Iraq and Afghanistan.

New York, NY — October 4, 2012: America’s veterans and their families are turning to meditation to ease the trauma of combat and pave the way to a healthier life.

The David Lynch Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity founded by iconic filmmaker David Lynch to bring Transcendental Meditation to at-risk populations, will hold an Iowa Veterans Summit on Thursday, October 11, 2012 at the West Des Moines Marriott. A press avail will take place at 10:00 A.M., followed by the Veterans Summit from 1:00 P.M. to 2:30 P.M.

The Summit will present the research and clinical applications of Transcendental Meditation for reducing stress, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), substance abuse and suicide, depression and enhancing resilience and performance.

The Washington Post reported in May that the Department of Veterans Affairs, seeking new ways to treat PTSD, is studying the use of Transcendental Meditation to help returning veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Thousands of veterans have learned Transcendental Meditation. Research on veterans who meditate has shown that the technique not only reduces the psychosocial symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression, but also balances serotonin and norepinephrine, and regulates the sympathetic nervous system. Transcendental Meditation is used on the oldest private military campus, Norwich University.

Panelists at The Iowa Veterans Summit include: Dr. Richard W. Schneider, USCGR (Ret.), President, Norwich University; Jerry Yellin, World War II P-51 Fighter Pilot and National Co-Chair, Operation Warrior Wellness; Col. Brian Rees, M.D., Command Surgeon, 63rd Regional Support Command and Luke Jensen, Operation Enduring Freedom veteran and Operation Warrior Wellness (OWW)–Iowa Advisory Board Member. All panelists have extensive experience in using Transcendental Meditation.        

Bob Roth, the Executive Director of The David Lynch Foundation, stated, “It is imperative that we help veterans and the brave men and women still in active-duty deal with the stress that stays with them long after they have returned home. Transcendental Meditation is a wonderful tool that can help those overcome the stress and anxiety from the theater of war, allowing them to lead healthier, more resilient lives.”

Todd M. Jacobus, the Chair of the Iowa Commission of Veteran Affairs, also stated, “Reducing the number of suicides among our Army personnel and veterans today is a top priority of the Army community. Commanders and leaders at all levels of our U.S. Armed Forces are making efforts to remain engaged in the lives of our Soldiers in order to be responsive to their needs and issues, and to get them help. However, these efforts can’t succeed without the involvement of the greater community, including programs like Operation Warrior Wellness, and the Resilient Warrior Program.”

WHAT: Presentations will highlight program outcomes for active-duty military personnel, veterans, cadets and their families. Those invited include military and Veterans Affairs leadership, behavioral health officers, mental health professionals caring for veterans and their families, policy makers, medical researchers and educators.

WHO: Dr. Richard W. Schneider, RADM USCGR (Ret.), President, Norwich University; Jerry Yellin, World War II P-51 Fighter Pilot and National Co-Chair, Operation Warrior Wellness; Col. Brian Rees, M.D., Command Surgeon, 63rd Regional Support Command and Luke Jensen, OEF veteran and OWW–Iowa Advisory Board Member   

WHERE: West Des Moines Marriott, 1250 Jordan Creek Parkway, West Des Moines, Iowa

WHEN: Thursday, October 11, 2012

10:00 A.M.: Press avail

12:00 P.M. – 1:00 P.M.: Lunch

1:00 P.M. – 2:30 P.M.: Veterans Summit

You can view the event brochure by visiting, http://www.operationwarriorwellness.org/iowa_summit.

To arrange an interview with Bob Roth or Jerry Yellin, please contact Ken Chawkin at 641-470-1314 or kchawkin@mum.edu.

About The David Lynch Foundation
The David Lynch Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, was established in 2005 to fund the implementation of scientifically proven stress-reducing modalities including Transcendental Meditation, for at-risk populations such as underserved inner-city students; veterans with PTSD and their families; American Indians suffering from diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and high suicide rates; homeless men participating in reentry programs striving to overcome addictions; and incarcerated juveniles and adults. For more information, please visit www.davidlynchfoundation.org.

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Reported in The Gazette: Summit in Iowa to promote meditation to reduce suicide among veterans. Radio Iowa: Veteran shares story in hopes of helping others deal with impact of war and Matt Kelley of Radio Iowa interviews Jerry Yellin about an Iowa Veterans Summit solution to PTSD

Here is a newly published Letter to the Editor of the Air Force Times by Dr. Leffler and Dr. Schneider: TM CAN SLOW AGING EFFECT. Also see: Norwich University Studies the Benefits of TM on Cadets.

See video highlights of the Iowa Veterans Summit – PTSD and Transcendental Meditation

WHO-TV 13 News: WARRIOR WELLNESS: Healing Hidden Wounds with Meditation for Veterans

July 27, 2012

WARRIOR WELLNESS: Healing Hidden Wounds

July 27, 2012, by for WHO-TV 13 Des Moines, Iowa

One veteran says he’s finally found a way of dealing with his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after serving in Afghanistan. And, he wants to share his story to help other warriors heal the hidden wounds of war.

Every day used to be a struggle for Luke Jensen. He says, “I was having a lot of anxiety, depression. I was ashamed.”

Jensen served in Afghanistan in 2009. He says he fell apart after a few months of service and sent home. He says, “At the beginning of deployment, I was the guy keeping everybody cheered up and joking around. I thought I was kind of a tough guy people could lean on, and I really just started deteriorating and lost control.”

Jensen says he wasn’t himself when he came home to his wife and two girls. Last July, the Des Moines Register shared his story. World War II Fighter Pilot Jerry Yellin read the article and says, “It’s a devastating story:  At war with PTSD. The next battle for families. “

Yellin saw the article, and as a veteran, recognized his stress. He says, “What I thought was, here’s a guy who needs me. Who needs what I know.”

Yellin says he called Jensen the next day. He invited him to Fairfield to learn a practice called Transcendental Meditation. He says, “A lot of people think TM is a religion, you have to follow the guidelines, but it isn’t. It’s a technique, it’s a mental technique.”

Jensen says the technique was simple for him to learn. He finds a comfortable chair in a quiet place and closes his eyes. For twenty minutes two times a day, he repeats his personal mantra. He says, “It’s just a word that takes you in a deep state of rest and while you’re doing that, you’re getting rid of stress and giving yourself peace and relaxation.”

Jensen says his wife also learned TM. He says it’s given him his life back. He says, “It helped me relax right away. It helped me start getting better sleep, helped me with my anxiety to the point where I got off my anxiety medication completely.”

Jensen will share his story Saturday afternoon. All Iowa veterans are invited to attend with their families. Veterans will learn more about a program called Operation Warrior Wellness that offers scholarships for veterans to learn Transcendental Meditation. The seminar is Saturday, July 28 at 2 p.m. at the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center.

You can find information at www.operationwarriorwellness.org/iowa.

Veteran Meditation video published on Jul 27, 2012 by . Link to article: http://bit.ly/PJehMh.

Related news coverage: 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 Veterans speak out on post-traumatic stress, offer a proven way to heal PTSD  |  Story County Veteran Once Suicidal Finds Relief from PTSD with Transcendental Meditation: AmesPatch article by Jessica Miller  |  Healing the Hidden Wounds of War: open forum for Iowa veterans and their families affected by PTSD, sponsored by Operation Warrior Wellness  |  TM Blog: “TM saved my life”—Suicidal Afghanistan war veteran who suffered from PTSD

Excerpts From David Lynch Foundation Videos: Changing Lives With Transcendental Meditation

July 19, 2012

David Lynch Foundation: Changing Lives With Meditation

Uploaded by on Jul 11, 2012

Since 2005 the David Lynch Foundation has shared Transcendental Meditation with our most stressed populations. http://www.davidlynchfoundation.org

Veterans: “A year ago this month I was suicidal. I was so low that I just wanted to not be here….Transcendental Meditation saved my life.”

At-Risk Youth: “I used to say I’m gonna get my grades up I’m gonna do better. But still it was just what I said, it never happened. Until I started meditating.”

African Refugees: “After my husband died my in-laws turned against me. They tortured me, almost killed me….those days I used to cry too much but now even the tears, they are holding. I’m great.”

Prisoners: “If you just take the time to meditate, free your mind, everything will come together.”

Homeless: “I was just so frustrated and full of misguided anger I didn’t know where to direct it to….people tell me you’re so calm….it’s surprising even to me.”

Native Americans: “I lost four members of my family to diabetes. I don’t want that to happen to my people….Since I started TM my sugar has been where it should be. So, I’m sold on TM.”

20 minutes twice a day changed them. Meditation changed them.

“Sorrow, anxiety, traumatic stress, depression, hate, anger, rage, fear start to lift away. Life just gets better and better and better.” – David Lynch

“I think this is what people need. They don’t need high minded talk, they need results.” – Paul McCartney

“Speaking as a scientist the amazing thing about Transcendental Meditation is the very well-established research showing the technique impacts things that we didn’t think were changeable.” – Dr. Oz

“The initial research on the effects of Transcendental Meditation in treating PTSD offers so much hope. Better then many things being tried at far less a cost.” – Candy Crowley

To help bring scientifically-validated, stress-reducing Transcendental Meditation to at-risk populations around the world, please visit: http://www.davidlynchfoundation.org/donate.html

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

Star Tribune: Meditation brings peace to war vets

May 17, 2012

Meditation brings peace to war vets

May 16, 2012 | Lifestyle | Star Tribune | Kristin Tillotson

Transcendental meditation has its detractors, but many veterans say it helps them with post-war stress.

Fernando Franco, who served in both Bosnia and Iraq, uses meditation techniques to control stress. — Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

Like many veterans, Fernando A. Franco had trouble sleeping through the night.

A major in the Minnesota National Guard, he was deployed twice between 2003 and 2007, once to Bosnia and once to Iraq, with barely six months’ break in between. The place where he was stationed near Balad, Iraq, was nicknamed “Mortaritaville” because “we were attacked every day,” he said.

After Franco got back home to St. Paul, he was hard-wired to wake up at 3 every morning, the same hour that in Mortaritaville he and his fellow soldiers would start hearing the shells aimed their way and brace for battle. Once he woke up, he’d stay up, living in a state of perpetual exhaustion.

“It really affected not only my work, but my relationship with my wife and kids,” he said. Then he heard about TM.

Transcendental meditation, or TM for short, is hailed by its devotees as good for just about anything that ails you. Skeptics call it everything from a bunch of hooey to a brainwashing cult, but those who do it daily claim they feel calmer, have more energy and feel healthier, both mentally and physically, than they used to. It’s not a religion, they say, just a practice that reduces anxiety and improves well-being.

Now the U.S. military — not known for embracing the mystical — has taken note. The Department of Veterans Affairs has invested $5 million in a dozen trial programs studying TM’s effects on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including one at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System.

The VA hopes to recruit 30 vets for the trial beginning in about a month, said spokesman Ralph Huessner, noting that it should not be confused with Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, a different meditation program already offered.

‘A part of the universe’

Franco, 49, works in human resources for Target Corp. No matter how busy he gets, he always takes 20 minutes twice a day, at about the same time every day, to meditate, using the discipline he learned as a soldier to strictly maintain his schedule.

“The only way to get the full benefit is to do it morning and afternoon, no matter what,” he said, “even if you have to do it standing up in a bathroom stall.”

TM practitioners call the state they go into one of “restful alertness.” Transcendence is achieved, they say, by repeating a mantra and emptying the mind. So how does it feel?

“There is a moment when you go into a void, an emptiness, and you feel a part of the universe,” Franco said. “It’s like in the movie ‘Avatar’ when the creature says they are a part of everything. That’s how I would explain it.”

He first heard about TM for veterans through Operation Warrior Wellness, an initiative launched last year by the foundation run by film director and TM advocate David Lynch.

“I’m Roman Catholic, but I’m very open-minded about Eastern philosophies,” Franco said.

In October, he attended training classes at the TM center in St. Paul. Six months later, he usually sleeps through the night and has passed his enthusiasm for TM along to his 15-year-old son.

“When you come back from war, where you’ve learned to shut down your emotions, you have to relearn how to be with your family,” he said. “It helps you not only to reconnect with yourself, but other people. I’ve also noticed I’m able to concentrate better.”

Some critics of the TM movement have accused it of being a religion, of amassing wealth for its leaders, and of brainwashing. Franco, who learned TM through a scholarship from Operation Warrior Wellness, said he’s seen none of that.

“I have never felt coerced into making this a religious path, and have encountered people of all faiths  who do it,” he said. “I have never been asked to make a donation.”

Although Franco said he does not have PTSD, he thinks meditation could help veterans who do.

“It’s different for everyone, and you still might need counseling and pills, but TM is one of the best tools for stress out there,” he said.

The draw of Oprah’s blessing

Long, white and stately, the local Peace Palace — which is what the international TM network calls its specially constructed education centers — sits just off a freeway frontage road on the eastern edge of St. Paul. Next door to an insurance office and a hop and a skip from Culver’s, the Maharishi Invincibility Center is hard to miss, an Eastern architectural presence in Midwestern suburbia.

At a recent open house, center director Billie Jean Billman led visitors on a tour. Since Oprah aired a special extolling the virtues of TM in April, Billman said, there has been a spike in interest. The center recently doubled its instructors from two to four.

“TM is not a panacea for everything, but it’s a non-pharmacological process that wakes up the body and the brain,” Billman said.

Two veterans who recently started TM, Sarah Ditto and Pat Watson, were also on hand to describe the benefits they’ve experienced.

“I was amazed at how completely calm I felt,” said Watson, 54. “It’s like pancake batter spreading across a griddle, slowly turning golden brown. You really are resting but awake. After I meditate, people ask me what I’ve been doing.”

“I was really energized after the first time I did it,” said Ditto, 25, who works with disabled veterans at the Metropolitan Center for Independent Living in St. Paul. “I went home and did a bunch of yard work. It’s helped me to focus better, too.”

Ditto likes to visit the center to do her meditating because its minimally decorated rooms are ideal for it. But, she says, she sometimes encounters a problem.

“I meditate facing Culver’s, and instead of my mantra I start saying in my head, Chocolate custard. Chocolate custard. Chocolate custard.”

Kristin Tillotson • 612-673-7046

For more information visit these websites:

www.tm.org and www.operationwarriorwellness.org.

Related articles: Washington Post: VA testing whether meditation can help treat PTSDPOLITICO: Coping with PTSD | Norwich University President Receives “Resilient Warrior Award” at National Veterans Summit in Washington, DC | Washington Post: Does Transcendental Meditation help veterans with PTSD? | Transcendental Meditation Drastically Turns Life Around For Veteran With PTSD | David Lynch gives $1M to teach vets meditation | David Lynch donates $1 million in grants through his foundation to teach veterans to meditate | Replay of David Lynch Foundation Launch of Operation Warrior Wellness Los Angeles | Post Traumatic Stress and How Transcendental Meditation Can Help [Infographic]

Meditation for Students: Results of the David Lynch Foundation’s Quiet Time/TM Program in San Francisco Schools

December 24, 2011

David Lynch Foundation Event in San Francisco: Meditation for Students

The David Lynch Foundation held a benefit gala in San Francisco on June 1 at the Legion of Honor, to showcase the successes of a five-year project to bring the stress-reducing Transcendental Meditation technique to students in inner-city San Francisco schools. In this video, you will hear James Dierke, principal of Visitacion Valley Middle School talk about the unprecedented academic achievements of his meditating students; iconic filmmaker David Lynch talk about the inspiring work of his foundation among at-risk populations; and Dr. Norman Rosenthal, internationally renowned psychiatrist and NY Times bestselling author, discuss the amazing results of scientific research on the TM technique. See other featured past events posted on the David Lynch Foundation website. To hear more about the David Lynch Foundation and it’s programs, please visit: http://www.davidlynchfoundation.org.

Uploaded by on Jul 7, 2011.

See selected highlights of Inspiring results from the TM-Quiet Time Program in the San Francisco Unified School District.


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