Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Battling PTSD With Meditation Techniques

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — The explosion of practice mortars sent Army Spc. Kade Williams into panic attacks, and nightmares plagued his sleep. The ravages of post-traumatic stress had left the veteran of the war in Afghanistan vulnerable, and he was desperate for help.

But sitting silently on the floor with his eyes closed while listening to a soft-spoken instructor tell him to find a focal point by pressing on his lower stomach as guitar music hums in the background? That seemed a bit far-out.

Until he tried it.

"I will be the first one to admit that I was wrong," Williams said.

Warriors have long used such practices to improve concentration and relaxation — dating back more than 1,000 years to the techniques of the samurai. Here at coastal Camp Lejeune, 100 miles inland at the Army’s Fort Bragg and at several bases in California, such meditation now comes with a name: Warrior Mind Training.

The course is catching on in military circles as a way not only to treat both post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries, but to improve focus and better prepare soldiers and Marines for the rigors of combat. It can also improve shooting range performance and raise training test scores, said Sarah Ernst, a senior Warrior Mind instructor.

Read the whole thing, as the saying goes. The proof is in the pudding, as cooks say, and if it helps soldiers I'm all for it.

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