Individuals, who struggle with the daily challenges of PTSD, are always hoping to find a way to get past the flashbacks, the unexpected bouts of anxiety, or the overwhelming feelings that prevent a “normal” day from happening. While many with PTSD attend therapy or take a variety of medications, there seems to be no “escape” or progress in sight. Fortunately, research shows that individuals with PTSD may benefit from Transcendental Meditation.
PTSD and War Vets
Researchers have been testing the effects of Transcendental Meditation (TM) on military vets since 1985, when Vietnam veterans were able to reduce their PTSD symptoms with no medication after practicing TM. In 2011, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, showed a 50% reduction of PTSD symptoms within a 3-month period after practicing TM. Additionally, in 2013, Congolese refugees, who were victims of civil war, sexual abuse, torture, and witnessing the loss of loved ones, saw a significant decrease in PTSD symptoms after learning TM.
What is Transcendental Meditation?
The Mayo Health Clinic describes Transcendental Meditation as a simple and natural technique that allows your body to settle into a state of “profound rest and relaxation and your mind to achieve a state of inner peace, without needing to use concentration or effort.” In this technique, individuals detach themselves from anxiety and promotes harmony and self-realization. TM is practiced by millions of people of all ages, health conditions, and religious or cultural backgrounds. TM is typically practiced 20 minutes per day, but some practice meditation numerous times throughout the day. Not only is Transcendental Meditation effective in decreasing PTSD symptoms, other health benefits include decreased blood pressure, increase of insulin resistance, and reduces the chance of stroke and heart attack.
Is TM for You?
If you are challenged by PTSD symptoms, you should consider giving TM a try. If you take a variety of medications for your PTSD, you may find that with regular practice of TM, you may see a reduction in your medication dosages. Although TM can be practiced on your own, it should be taught by a certified professional. TM can be a healthy coping mechanism to help you get through stressful situations that can trigger your PTSD. Whether you are a young adult who witnessed a horrific accident, a recent war vet, or a Vietnam veteran with PTSD, it’s never too late to see if Transcendental Meditation is for you. There are no dangerous side effects like medications and it costs significantly less than prescriptions.
However, if you choose to try TM, talk with your doctor and continue your daily routines (ie. therapy or medication). By communicating with him or her, you may be able to adjust your dosages, but never go off medication without medical advisement.