With Science to Boot
Today probably should go under the title of “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” So, you might ask, combat trauma/PTSD and TM? That is, transcendental meditation? You bet, and there’s data to back it up. From the U.S. News & World Report, among other sources, comes today’s piece: “Transcendental Meditation May Help Relieve PTSD.”
Those of you of a certain age might associate the words “transcendental meditation” less with clinical psychological experiments and more with the bell-bottom jeans and granny dresses of the 1970’s. It was introduced into the West by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi starting in the 1950’s, and the Maharishi made it to ninety years of age with the practice, so he must have been onto something, that’s all I can say.
I know: many of you might already be saying: an Indian yogi, repeating a mantra (syllable) for twenty minutes, and combat vets—you serious?
Yes, serious. And so serious in fact, researchers at the Eisenhower Army Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia, USA have just published some cases in the journal Military Medicine to prove it.
In short, soldiers served at the Traumatic Brain Injury clinic there were taught to use the standardized techniques of TM for twenty minutes a day, twice a day for two months. Their results? Decreased use of medication and a markedly increased sense of well-being that persisted for several follow-up months. What’s even more telling? All those soldiers who were at first reluctant to try this “woo-woo treatment”?
They’re lining up for it now.
A few cases do not a major psychological research breakthrough make. But in this world where we’re all doing our best to relieve service members of combat trauma symptoms that are interfering not only with their own lives, but also with those of the ones they love, an idea that has a good start is one well worth pursuing. Please understand that I’m not for or against endorsing TM for combat vets. It’s nice to know, though, that there have been professionals taking the technique seriously—and willing to share the possibility of success not only to skeptical clinicians, but even more to the most hardened skeptics of all, combat vets.
I’ve said it before. I say it again: if you have tried some form of treatment before that you did not find that helpful, don’t give up. People continue to look for new ways to bring hope after war. Nobody wants to buy a modern version of “snake oil treatments,” but just because something might sound a little “oily,” don’t assume that it therefore must be so. I’ll keep my eye out for possibilities that at least have some track record to them and keep them in my blog/website’s Resources section.
As a combat vet or someone who loves one, your only job is to remember that you and/or your loved one still have what it takes to do what needs to be done. Whatever can reliably, safely bring periods of calm is a good thing. Keep at it. Please.
And remember: no long, gray beards are required for success. Trust me. Ninety years or no.
Ninety years, though. Might make me reconsider the beard part.
Until tomorrow, be well,
Great article, Doc. I’m neither a medic, nor involved in the military, but anything that helps our service personnel recover from trauma is a good thing, in my book. I use meditation as part of my taekwondo training, and find the sense of calm it brings very welcome. Might not work for everyone, and considering how up-tight I can get about things, I’m amazed it helps me at all. What I like about this is that no chemicals are involved, and it is free. Here’s hoping that it helps bring an element of peace to some of your readers. Keep writing. All the best, Dave