CLEVELAND, Ohio (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Eight million Americans are suffering from PTSD right now. A severe trauma, like that experienced in war, mass shootings, rapes, or physical and mental assaults, can lead to debilitating anxiety and depression. Many victims are turning to trauma-centered yoga to find help.
“I’m an incest survivor. I just discovered a book in my elementary school library that had pictures of yoga poses,” shared Rowan Silverberg, PhD, Mind/Body Medicine.
From there, Silverberg began her lifelong study of yoga.
“I think it really kept me sane and kept me alive,” Silverberg continued.
Now, with a PhD in Mind-Body medicine, she focuses her research on trauma center, trauma-sensitive yoga.
“The practice is really about giving that person control back,” explained Silverberg.
She offers her students choices which empowers them to begin making choices in other areas of their lives. Kimberly, Nina, and Drew are using trauma sensitive yoga to help them.
“I was in a bike accident. I lost the ability to talk and work,” shared Nina Minchow.
“My twin sister died in a car accident,” explained Kimberly Ghorai.
“I was just lost,” said Drew Mikita.
All three believe it helped them. The differences between traditional yoga and TCTSY? First, poses are not forced. Options are key.
“Would you prefer to sit with your legs crossed or would you prefer to stretch one leg out,” Silverberg said is asked.
There’s no touching.
“I don’t correct anybody’s alignment,” stated Silverberg.
Research with PTSD patients is proving it works to decrease dissociation and flashbacks while improving self-regulation.
“Unless people are connected to their internal compass, they can’t really heal,” continued Silverberg.
“It’s allowed me to process some of the things that I didn’t think I would ever get over,” shared Drew.
Two other differences, in TCTSY, you don’t have to close your eyes or lay in traditional savasana, as the stillness may trigger flashbacks or anxiety.
There are 500 certified TCTSY instructors throughout the world. All have backgrounds as therapists, psychotherapists, and social workers.
Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; and Kirk Manson, Videographer.
HEALING IMPACT OF TRAUMA-CENTERED YOGA: TCTSY
BACKGROUND: A psychiatric disorder that occurs in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, rape or other violent personal assault is called posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. This disorder can occur in all people, of any ethnicity, nationality or culture, any age, and affects approximately 3.5 percent of U.S. adults. An estimated one in 11 people will be diagnosed with PTSD in their lifetime. Women are twice as likely as men to have PTSD. People with PTSD have intense, disturbing thoughts and feelings related to their experience that last long after the traumatic event has ended. They may relive the event through flashbacks or nightmares; may feel sadness, fear or anger; and may feel detached or estranged from other people.
YOGA AND MIND-BODY PRACTICES FOR PTSD: Studies on mind-body practices used to treat PTSD found that many approaches in current use reduce the severity of core symptoms including intrusive memories, avoidance, and emotional arousal. Individuals who regularly engaged in mind-body practices reported improvements in mental health problems including anxiety, depressed mood and anger, and stress. In a small 7-day study, military veterans diagnosed with PTSD participated in daily 3-hour sessions of a breathing-based style of yoga. This showed reductions in PTSD symptom severity, anxiety symptoms and respiration rate at the end of the study and at one-year follow-up. In another small pilot study, 16 military veterans diagnosed with PTSD attended yoga sessions twice a week and reported significant improvements in sleep and other symptoms but non-significant improvements in overall PTSD severity, anger or quality of life. In addition to studies on yoga, preliminary findings from case reports suggest that Taichichuan and qigong may reduce PTSD symptom severity in torture survivors.
PTSD BREAKTHROUGH: MDMA, commonly known as the street drug ecstasy or Molly, is showing significance in reducing PTSD symptoms when paired with psychotherapy. Promising research has the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granting the drug a “breakthrough” status and is fast-tracking final phases of clinical trials in the hopes of developing a new countermeasure. According to Dr. Michael Mithoefer, the acting medical director for the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), an organization working to advance the science of potentially beneficial compounds like MDMA, and a psychiatrist who is heavily involved in the clinical trials, MDMA helps reverse the brain functions that can paralyze people when trauma is triggered. Brain imaging studies have shown PTSD appears to increase commotion in the amygdala, the brain’s fear center, and reduce activity in the prefrontal cortex, which regulates emotion. MDMA’s ability to overcome fear and defensiveness, increase empathy and compassion, and heighten introspection can significantly improve psychotherapy for PTSD.
* For More Information, Contact:
Rowan Silverberg, PhD, Mind/Body Medicine
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