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Kathryn Braun

(Editor’s note, March 13-This same research was the basis for a paper, published in a February 5, 2018, issue of Military Medicine by Office of Public Health Professors Kathryn Braun and Alan Katz, that post-9/11 veterans benefitted from the positive effects of yoga.)

Post-9/11 military veterans who receive mind-body therapy have significant improvements in symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a study co-authored by University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Professor Kathryn Braun in the Journal for Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

“Our findings show that mind-body interventions are effective in reducing the severity of PTSD symptoms associated with combat,” said Braun, director and professor at the Office of Public Health Studies within the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work. “They also can reduce depression and anxiety symptoms, and increase mindfulness and sleep quality in veterans with PTSD.”

Combat-related PTSD is a major public health challenge for the Department of Defense and Veteran Affairs. When service members return from deployment with combat-related PTSD, conventional therapies include cognitive behavioral therapy and antidepressant medications.

But complementary and alternative treatments, such as mind-body therapies including meditation and yoga, are less invasive. Thus they may be more attractive to service members and veterans.

Not only are mind-body therapies effective, but they may also be less costly than conventional treatments. For example, yoga can be taught and delivered to a dozen service members or veterans at a time.

Study author Robin Cushing is an Army physician assistant who teaches yoga in military and veteran communities. “We reviewed 15 pieces of literature on the effects of mind-body interventions for veterans with PTSD,” said Cushing. “Our findings show that, for the majority of participants, their PTSD symptoms improved.”

This Post Has 4 Comments
  1. “Service members” and “combat-related:” are deceptive terms. When will it be of interest to intervene in the incessant feeding of humans to war? Would the end of warring be the end of the universities? Is that why our educational system so studiously avoids any studies of peace, and any opposition to war? I’ve never understood why you are silent when the bodies are being fed to the beast, but then all excited about how you can “fix” the ones who survive. You can’t. They know that. The “fixing” and interventions are needed applied to those who profit from war.

  2. All so simply true, I am impatient for this therapy to become the normnal, and the allopathic approach takes a back seat and used only if the alternatives do so not work. Also for this to be used with inmates for whom there are much less (if any) treatment of any kind. I have found good results using yoga and meditation with them.

    1. I so totally agree. It’s all clearly connected. My personal experience has taught me, and “modern science” is allso finally figuring out that a great many who suffer from trauma and anxiety disorders like PTSD and bipolar turn to drugs and alcohol for their soothing effects, while often those with depression will likewise turn to these same substances for their stimulating effects. Many of those then get hit with the double-whammy-first they are stigmatized with the “mentally ill” label, then they become victims of “the war on drugs”, and are further traumatized by police brutality/incarceration etc, which exacerbates the problem. To make matters worse, those unfortunates are then fixed with a second and third stigma as a criminal and a drug addict.
      This is what is driving prison overcrowding crisis, which costs about 55,000.00 a year per person. Our prisons have become a warehouse for the mentally ill, defacto mental institutions, where the mentally ill are unable to get any kind of help for their problems and instead are thrown into a veritable jungle, a sociopaths/psychopaths paradise. In essence we are spending great deals of money to make people worse and to negatively effect public safety by releasing them back into society more seriously mentallyill and more dangerous to themselves and others.

  3. MInd-body techniques are the way to go, and what we need is a fundamental shift, a new paradigm where these ancient techniques are nout used to augment so caleed “modern medicine” but become a hte foundation for an approach that some may call “new” but is in fact older than western science. I have spent time in our jails and prisons, and in my honest opinion everyone I have met in that system suffers from at least one mental disorder. If they didn’t have mental health problems going in, they sure had them coming out. The conditions in our jails and prisons are horrrific, and we incarcerate people at the very least 7 times the rate of any other industrialized nation. It has become a big industry, and guess who runs it? The same people who have been pushing the war on drugs and all the get tough on crime legislation. It’s the same formula the military-industrial complex uses to drive profits by creating wars.

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