By Faye Martins
PTSD is reaching epidemic levels around the world. No matter what answers western medicine provides, the number of PTSD sufferers continues to rise. Conventional medicine’s answers to this problem serve to lessen the symptoms without providing a cure.
The most effective form of PTSD treatment offered by conventional medicine seems to be the combination of therapy and prescribed medicine. PTSD victims treated with these measures report limited success. The problem with this treatment regime is that any deviation from treatment usually causes an immediate loss of progress; possibly even a worsened condition.
Yogic therapy for PTSD also relies on a two-pronged approach. Yoga is both a medicine and a therapy. Breathing exercises and yogic postures simultaneously work on the mind and spirit.
Better emotional control is one of the most important goals of PTSD therapy. Learning how to react in a practical and pragmatic way during stressful situations helps to avoid a repeat of PTSD symptoms. While modern therapy recognizes this, most of its solutions involve convoluted methods, which must be memorized to be effective. Since yoga science is at its core a breathing technology, the body becomes trained in the mastery of pranayama. Suddenly, performing PTSD therapy becomes second nature; not learned behavior.
PTSD medications seek to regulate stress and anxiety. Depending largely on the patient’s reactions, these medicines show some effectiveness. Unfortunately, many of these medicines have their own very significant side effects. Yogic philosophy, and common sense, teaches that harming the body in order to heal it is ultimately self-destructive. By regulating breathing and circulation, yogic medicine offers the same results as pharmaceuticals without the dangerous side effects.
PTSD is the reaction of the mind and body to a traumatic event. Left to their own devices, the mind and body struggle to find ways to react, ratcheting up the tension until it becomes impossible to function. The more the mind wildly responds to stress and anxiety, the more prone to creating these negative events the body can become. The simplest yoga training traditions and breathing techniques can be applied with or without medical supervision.
The anxious mind races, coming up with panicked thought after panicked thought. The first thing that even an elementary yogic therapeutic session does is give the mind something to do. Breathing, exhaling, counting breaths and changing positions are all activities that the mind must focus on in order to carry out. Therapeutic yoga is deceptively simple; this is part of the reason why it is such an effective treatment.
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