For the past year, in a week-long regimen, veterans came to the center to learn yoga and breathing to help them deal with problems some didn’t even know they had.
Rich Low served as an infantry officer in the Army in Iraq, leading some 280 combat missions.
“I didn’t think I suffered post-traumatic stress,” Low said. “Mediating and breathing was something I didn’t consider, and I was surprised that when I came out on the other side, I found the desire to just be active and involved with life again. Coming back from Iraq, I was suppressing a lot of things and just living day to day.”
Low said he didn’t think his time in Iraq affected him in any major way, but he said the class changed his life.
“I went through several failed relationships, and I was wondering what was going on, why I wasn’t connecting,” he said. “I did the course and things starting opening up. I started to feel happiness, sadness, emotions I couldn’t even explain because I wasn’t familiar with them. It was a little jarring at first; I didn’t know how to handle them, but overall it’s been a great experience.”
Now researchers such as Seppala are crunching the numbers, trying to determine if the yoga therapy will stick. A year into the study, they said the answer seems to be yes.
Fast emerging non-profit group, Connected Warriors, www.theconnectedwarrior.org, is providing combat veterans of all ages access to yoga. I have recently learned the value of this non medication treatment for PTSD and have high hopes for it’s continued success. Music therapy is also being explored as an effective treatment for the symptoms of PTSD. My experience with medications is that although it appears critical in overall treatment, other non-medication forms of treatment offer a far better long term solution.
I have started working with Connected Warriors to explore bringing the program to the Oregon coast. We do not have the same population of combat veterans living in this area as in other more populated centers, but do have relatively high numbers of veterans of all ages and families who are challenged. Starting point to get the program introduced is your local Veterans Affairs office according to Connected Warriors spokesperson, Denise Dallas, E. Boca Raton, Florida.
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