Posts Tagged ‘posttraumatic stress’

The David Lynch Foundation Is Helping Transform Veteran PTSD With Transcendental Meditation

September 5, 2019

Thanks to Cliff Sloan of Phil and Company for this amazing interview: The David Lynch Foundation Tackles Veteran PTSD with Meditation. This is one of the best discussions I’ve heard on the topic! Humane! Inspiring!

Cliff interviews David Lynch Foundation (DLF) CEO and New York Times best-selling author Bob Roth, and retired US Army Ranger and Boulder Crest Retreat (BCR) Executive Director Dusty Baxley on the power of Transcendental Meditation (TM) to transform the lives of veterans suffering with PTSD, suicide, and depression.

Bob explains the uniqueness of TM, how it differs from other categories of meditation, and the research behind it. The Foundation creates star-studded events to raise the funds necessary to teach this effective stress-reduction technique. DLF has made TM available to over 1 million at-risk students around the world, veterans with PTSD and their families, battered women, and other traumatized groups.

Dusty gives a dramatic firsthand account of how TM saved his life. After learning to meditate he could finally sleep and stopped self-medicating. He cleaned up his act, went to a veterans reunion, and learned of fellow veteran suicides and lost lives. (Suicides are now up 30%!) They saw a huge change in him and asked him what he was doing. He told them about TM and they asked him to teach them. He became a certified TM teacher and has been teaching veterans to meditate and reclaim their lives. TM is at the core of BCR’s veteran and first-responders program to develop Posttraumatic Growth.

Listen to this powerful, and sometimes humorous, enlightening podcast.

Related: Celebrities Russell Brand @rustyrockets, @CameronDiaz, @katyperry, and War Veterans Praise #TranscendentalMeditation | #TranscendentalMeditation as good as or better than ‘gold standard’ when treating veterans with #PTSD | Veterans who learn TM find relief from PTSD. New study shows symptoms had reduced by 80% to below the clinical level in one month | Norwich University, oldest private U.S. military college, benefits from Transcendental Meditation.

Second study to show Transcendental Meditation reduces PTSD in African Refugees—in just 10 days

February 10, 2014

Transcendental Meditation significantly reduces PTSD in African refugees within 10 days

This is lead author Col. Brian Rees, MD, MPH, US Army Reserve Medical Corps

This is lead author Col. Brian Rees, MD, MPH, US Army Reserve Medical Corps

African civilians in war-torn countries have experienced the threat of violence or death, and many have witnessed the abuse, torture, rape and even murder of loved ones. Many Congolese living in Ugandan refugee camps are suffering from severe posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

New research shows that Congolese war refugees who learned the Transcendental Meditation® technique showed a significant reduction in posttraumatic stress disorder in just 10 days, according to a study published today in the February 2014 issue of the Journal of Traumatic Stress (Volume 27, Issue 1, pages 1–119).

In the study, “Significant Reductions in Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms in Congolese Refugees within 10 days Transcendental Meditation Practice,” 11 subjects were tested after 10-days and 30-days TM practice. After just 10-days PTSD symptoms dropped almost 30 points.

“An earlier study found a similar result after 30 days where 90% of TM subjects dropped to a non-symptomatic level. But we were surprised to see such a significant reduction with this group after just 10 days,” said study author Brian Rees, MD, MPH.

The subjects were assessed using the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist for Civilians, (PCL-C), which rates the severity of PTSD on a scale from 17 to 85. A score below 35 means the symptoms of PTSD have abated.

Eleven Congolese refugees who had been tested three times over a 90-day period on the PCL-C, which rates the level of PTSD on a scale from 17 to 85, began with an average score of 77.9. They learned Transcendental Meditation within 8 days of the third test and after 10 days their average score dropped to 48, which was highly clinically significant. They were retested 30 days later measuring an average score of 35.3. With scores below 35 considered non-symptomatic, they were practically symptom free.

Eleven Congolese refugees who had been tested three times over a 90-day period on the PCL-C, which rates the level of PTSD on a scale from 17 to 85, began with an average score of 77.9. They learned Transcendental Meditation within 8 days of the third test and after 10 days their average score dropped to 48, which was highly clinically significant. They were retested 30 days later measuring an average score of 35.3. With scores below 35 considered non-symptomatic, they were practically symptom free.

The subjects in the study initially tested with an average score of 77.9. After just 10 days of practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique, their PTSD test scores dropped to an average of 48, which was highly significant clinically.

Thirty days later the subjects were tested again with their PTSD scores falling to an average of 35.3 — meaning that they were nearly without symptoms of PTSD.

“What makes this study interesting is when we tested them in the 90 days before they began the TM technique, their PTSD scores kept going up,” said coauthor Fred Travis, director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition at Maharishi University of Management. “During that period their scores were rising, from 68.5 at the beginning to 77.9 after 90 days. But once they started the Transcendental Meditation technique, their PTSD scores plummeted.”

According to the researchers, during this particular meditation technique one experiences a deep state of restful alertness. Repeated experience of this state for 20 minutes twice a day cultures the nervous system to maintain settled mental and physical functioning the rest of the day. This helps to minimize disturbing thoughts, sleep difficulties, and other adverse PTSD symptoms.

In this video, Dr. Travis explains the neurophysiology of trauma and how TM relieves it. He says, “Something very profound is happening. Because experience changes the brain, and trauma locks in a specific brain functioning (the over stimulated amygdala), you’re stuck in a specific way of thinking and feeling, (vigilance, fear and mistrust) and appreciating the world.” He further explains how the experience of transcending, with Transcendental Meditation, calms the amygdala, relieves PTS symptoms and frees the individual “to see more possibilities.”

Congolese refugee Esperance Ndozi and her 5 children

Congolese refugee Esperance Ndozi and her 5 children

Esperance Ndozi was one of the Congolese refugees traumatized by the civil war. The 35-year old mother of 5 was part of the group of refugees that learned TM. Before learning the effortless technique, Esperance couldn’t find relief from a flood of dark disturbing memories. She could hardly sleep. After a week of meditating 20-minutes twice a day she describes increasing relaxation and relief from PTSD symptoms. “Your mind, your body relaxes. You feel you are out of the outside world. You are just in your peaceful world. No negativity. It doesn’t come near me now.” Like other refugees in the study the calm and peace grew to last throughout the day. Watch the video.

A previous study of Congolese refugees, which involved 42 subjects found that the Transcendental Meditation group had an average Checklist score of below 35 after 30 days, a non-symptomatic level, while the average score of the control group actually worsened over the same period.

“This is now the fourth study to show an improvement in PTSD,” said Dr. Rees, a colonel in the US Army Reserve Medical Corps. “The Transcendental Meditation technique is increasingly being seen as a viable treatment by the US military.”*

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Study co-author Dr Fred Travis is a professor of neurophysiology at Maharishi University of Management, an accredited university to the PhD level, where Transcendental Meditation is incorporated into its curriculum and practiced by faculty and students. This provides a way for students, including veterans, to reduce the effects of past stress and trauma, and make learning easier and more enjoyable. www.mum.edu

This study was funded in part by the David Lynch Foundation. www.davidlynchfoundation.org/africa

The Journal of Traumatic Stress is published on behalf of International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.

Source: EurekAlert!

*Two earlier studies have shown the Transcendental Meditation (TM®) technique to effectively lower post-traumatic stress in veterans of Vietnam and Iraq/Afghanistan wars.

See first refugee study: New study shows Transcendental Meditation significantly reduces PTS in African refugees

New study shows Transcendental Meditation significantly reduces PTS in African refugees

April 11, 2013

African war refugees practicing Transcendental Meditation®, a simple and effective stress-reducing meditation technique, experienced immediate and dramatic reductions in severe posttraumatic stress symptoms to a non-symptomatic level in just 30 days, according to a new study published this week in the April 2013 issue of the Journal of Traumatic Stress (Volume 26, Issue 2, pp. 295-298.)

A significant percentage of veterans are returning home from wars exhibiting symptoms of posttraumatic stress (PTS). It is now recognized as a serious health problem that can trigger suicidal tendencies. But what about the victims of such violence? Homeless refugees live with the constant reminder of what war has done to their lives and those of their families.

While studies have shown the Transcendental Meditation (TM®) technique to effectively lower posttraumatic stress in veterans of Vietnam and Iraq/Afghanistan wars, this is the first (randomized/matched) study to look at PTS in African war refugees. It measured the severity of posttraumatic stress symptoms before and after learning the TM technique, and the reductions were immediate and dramatic.

PTS Scores Graph

The Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist scores in the TM group went from high PTS symptoms at baseline to a non-symptomatic level after 30-days TM practice, and remained low at 135-days, while scores in the control group trended upward from baseline to the two posttests.

For more study details and comments by the surprised researchers, click the EurekAlert! press release, graph and video with descriptions, and a PDF of the published JTS TM-PTS Study.

The study was funded by the David Lynch Foundation.

In the past 20 years, 18 African nations have been ravaged by war. Tens of millions of Africans have been victims of violence or witnessed horrific acts of terror—and now suffer from post-traumatic stress. The DLF Africa PTSD Relief Project was set up to raise funds to teach the TM program to many more African refugees. Here is a short documentary with actor, director Bill Duke, Ambassador for African PTSD Relief. Please visit http://www.davidlynchfoundation.org/africa to learn more.

The news was reported on MedicalXpress.com: Transcendental Meditation significantly reduces posttraumatic stress in African refugees, and linked to it from many other websites. Also by News-Medical.net: Study: Transcendental meditation reduces posttraumatic stress in African refugees. And Medical News Today: Posttraumatic Stress Significantly Reduced By Transcendental Meditation. Psychiatric Annals/Helio: Meditation reduced posttraumatic stress symptoms in African refugees.

Here is an excellent comprehensive report with quotes from Russell Simmons, and David Lynch about the study posted on People of Shambala: Transcendental Meditation significantly reduces post-traumatic stress for Congolese refugees: study. Google posted this excellent article by AFP: Filmmaker David Lynch touts meditation for PTSD.

More on Global Good News: Transcendental Meditation significantly reduces posttraumatic stress in African refugees, and  Johannesburg Transcendental Meditation Center: Post Traumatic Stress help for African Refugees.

See the Second study to show Transcendental Meditation reduces PTSD in African Refugees—in just 10 days.

Military veterans speak on need to increase resiliency: by Diane Vance, Fairfield Ledger

July 30, 2012

Military veterans speak on need to increase resiliency

Yellin, Travis: TM programs needed for veterans

By DIANE VANCE, Ledger staff writer | Jul 30, 2012

Howard Judge, left, of Fairfield, talks with Luke Jensen Saturday after the forum, Healing the Hidden Wounds of War. Jensen, a former Army Reservist from Story County, spoke about his struggles with posttraumatic stress after an Afghanistan deployment in 2009 and the help he found in practicing Transcendental Meditation. Photo by: DIANE VANCE/Ledger photo

Saturday’s forum in Fairfield about posttraumatic stress was a kick-off to promote the need to equip today’s military with more tools to increase resiliency, said Chris Busch, program director at the David Lynch Foundation.

“We need to establish resilience in our warriors, not only for combat,” Busch told the audience of about 200 people attending Healing the Hidden Wounds of War Fairfield Arts & Convention Center’s Stephen Sondheim Center for Performing Arts.

“The Veterans Administration is paying for two large studies about the effects of Transcendental Meditation on post traumatic stress disorder,” said Busch. “One of the studies is going on in Saginaw, Mich., and one in Minneapolis.”

Jerry Yellin signs a copy of his book, “The Resilient Warrior,” which the Warrior Wellness program of the David Lynch Foundation had available for donations after Saturday’s forum. Refreshments were served in the lobby while a four-piece band played music at Fairfield Arts & Convention Center after the program. (Photo by: DIANE VANCE/Ledger photo)

Another TM study is under way at Norwich University in Northfield, Vt. A private university founded in 1819, Norwich is the birthplace of Reserve Officer Training Corps.

Military cadets volunteered to learn Tanscendental Meditation last school year.

Busch shared a video about the study, including feedback from the student soldiers who have practiced TM since autumn.

“At Norwich, we’ve always worried about the whole person,” said Norwich University President Richard Schneider, in the video, dressed in his two-star, major general U.S. Army uniform. “We’ve always concentrated on making very smart and very strong, great leaders; ethical leaders. I think TM will provide us another whole dimension of integrating all that and improving performance in all those areas. I haven’t found anything else that will do that.”

Cadets in the video speak about heavy class loads, being in leadership positions of responsibility and being tired; tired muscles, a tired mind and falling asleep in classes. Meditation brought noticeable change — in being more alert and muscles relaxing during meditation and experiencing a rejuvenated mind.

One student cadet said a difference he sees in his meditating platoon versus non-meditating platoons, is his “platoon is more professional, ‘more locked-on,’ they’re not joking around.

“It makes my job easier [in a leadership position] that the platoon is meditating,” he says. “Meditating definitely enhances their ability to understand what we’re essentially asking them to do. When I was a ‘rook,’ we had to have things explained three or four times before we finally got it right. Now, I can tell my rooks the first time, and maybe a second time and they’re getting it right.”

A freshman cadet said, “We’ve picked up a reputation on campus as ‘those weird people that meditate.’ I kindly point out to them the fact that we don’t fall asleep in class, we’ve got better PT [physical training] scores, we do better on tests, we have better uniforms, we don’t get yelled at as much as they do, and then they quiet down pretty quickly after that.

“I’d say the biggest benefit is the energy,” said the freshman. “In high school, I’d drink a whole thermos-full of coffee each day. I don’t have to do that anymore. It feels good not to have to rely on things like that and be able to do it myself.”

A female senior cadet said in the video she was at first a skeptic.

“Now that I’ve learned [TM], it’s great. I’ve directly seen the benefits. I’m a senior, and I’ve never earned a grade point average over 3.0,” she said. “This semester, I’ve taken 22 credits, four lab sciences and I have a 3.6. I don’t think I got that much smarter all of a sudden. The TM helps me focus so I get more out of study time.”

“ROTC commissions 70 percent of all the officers of the United States,” said Schneider, who with other administrators at Norwich learned TM a short time prior to the cadets’ learning.

“Can you imagine if by this experience at Norwich University, the birthplace of ROTC, we provide a very important tool in these young officers’ tool box they’ve never had the benefit of before; we can influence 70 percent of officers in a very short time. And we owe it to them to give them the best tools to win, and I think this is one of those tools.”

The five-minute, 13-second video is available on the David Lynch Foundation website.

Two of the main speakers Saturday were veterans Jerry Yellin and Luke Jensen.

Yellin, now a Fairfield resident, was a young World War II fighter pilot, who suffered from PTSD for 30 years before learning TM in 1975, “which genuinely saved my life,” he said.

“I’m here today to offer scholarships to any veterans, and their families, who want to learn Transcendental Meditation,” said Yellin who co-chairs the Warrior Wellness program begun in 2010, supported by the David Lynch Foundation.

He related his own story, including his wife’s support. Yellin and Helene married in August 1949.

“She never knew she married damaged goods,” said Yellin. “I know I caused her a lot of suffering. War had wounded me in places that can’t be seen.”

He also introduced Jensen, 33 years old: “No one understands combat like a combat veteran. I’m pleased to introduce my hero, Luke Jensen,” said Yellin.

Jensen, an Iowa native living in Story County, had deployed to Afghanistan in August 2009 as a member of the Army Reserves. He began experiencing severe stress, panic attacks, depression and suicidal thoughts shortly after arriving in Afghanistan.

A story in the Des Moines Register published a year ago, detailed Jensen’s struggles and life back with his wife and two young daughters when he returned home. Yellin had read that story last summer and called Jensen at work the next day and offered David Lynch scholarships to Jensen and his wife, Abi, to learn TM.

Saturday in Fairfield is the first time Jensen has told his story to a live audience. A video with the Jensens was created prior to Saturday, which told some of their story.

“Thank you Jerry for reaching out to me when I was in very dark space,” Jensen said. “Since learning TM in July 2011, I have less anxiety, my blood pressure is down, and I now know this practice has helped veterans from every generation of wars.”

Jensen recounted his story, from aspiring to work in law enforcement and fulfilling that in 2001, to daily suicidal thoughts and drinking to self-medicate in 2010 and 2011. His voice sometimes shook from nerves or emotion. He used the word “ashamed” frequently.

“TM helped my family come out of darkness, it brought me relief and gave me hope for the future,” said Jensen.

Yellin, Travis: TM programs needed for veterans

At Healing the Hidden Wounds of War forum, Jerry Yellin, told about his inspiration to ask for a division of Operation Warrior Wellness to teach Transcendental Meditation to help military veterans.

It came from a personal experience, a tragedy of another soldier’s family that had Yellin pursue a program to help veterans.

“I asked what was the cost of current treatment for veterans with post traumatic stress when I met with the deputy of the V.A. administration,” he said.

The 2006 and 2007 Veterans Affairs cost of mental health support to veterans of all wars, was $15 billion and $18 billion, said Yellin.

“We have so many young veterans who have been to Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Yellin. “They will live another 50 to 60 years … and mental health costs could be $20 billion each year?”

That provides an economic motivation to have Transcendental Meditation programs available on a large-scale basis for veterans, he said.

Fred Travis, a Maharishi University of Management professor and director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness and Cognition, also said larger-scale TM programs are needed for veterans.

“The Veterans Administration will approve TM for a veteran on a one-at-a-time basis,” he said.

“We still recommend that TM is a part of a treatment program, not the only part,” said Travis. “Work with professionals.”

Travis explained how post traumatic stress works on the brain.

“The Amygdala part of the brain tags important events to file away in your memory,” he said. “It tags each detail; it’s permenantly stuck on. Every experience is tagged with strong emotion.

“Post traumatic stress is a natural reaction to unnatural events. So once all these events are tagged with strong emotion, the person now feels they have to be completely in control. You experience hyper-vigilance and can’t rest. We also know from research that when someone is experiencing PTS, the brain’s frontal lobes turn off. The frontal lobes are the ‘CEO’ of the brain. When it’s not functioning properly, you don’t have the brain power to find a solution; you only see the problems,” said Travis.

“TM takes the mind beyond just coping,” he said. “If we could do something beforehand to increase resilience, how much better.”

— Diane Vance, Ledger staff writer

This cover story was posted with permission from The Fairfield Ledger

Other post-event coverage: Mark Newman: Courier: Iowa soldier seeks peace of mind through meditation and medication and KTVO News: How one soldier regained his life with help from WWII veteran and TM for PTSD. Pre-event coverage: WHO TV 13: WARRIOR WELLNESS: Healing Hidden Wounds | 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 | KTVO: 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


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