Yoga & Mindfulness may enhance PTSD treatment


July 19, 2013

Mindfulness interventions are safe, inexpensive and effective adjuncts to posttraumatic stress disorder treatment, according to Marina Khusid, MD, ND, MSA, who recently published an article on the subject in the July issue of Psychiatric Annals. The article is the last of a seven-part series on the use of complementary and alternative medicine in the treatment of PTSD.

Mindfulness-based approaches rapidly grow in popularity and are increasingly employed to treat a number of mental health conditions,” said Khusid, a member of the clinical faculty at the department of family medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago.
Marina Khusid, MD, ND, MSA Marina Khusid

In her article, Khusid explores four types of mindfulness techniques that have the most supportive evidence for their use: mindfulness meditation, mantram repetition, yoga, and relaxation response training.

Although the evidence base is not robust enough to recommend either one as a first-line treatment for PTSD, these techniques can be integrated with more traditional, proven interventions, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy.

According to Khusid, mindfulness encourages veterans to self-manage their care, shifting treatment responsibility from the clinician to the patient. Recent data suggest that self-help strategies have been effective in treating patients with PTSD and anxiety disorders.

Khusid said mindfulness encourages treatment compliance and helps alleviate symptoms associated with the disorder.

“Mindfulness-based interventions decrease avoidance behaviors and negative ruminative thought patterns, improve emotion regulation and impulse control, and encourage self-compassion and successful re-integration into civilian life,” she said.

Khusid mentioned that there are currently three times as many clinical trials of mindfulness interventions for PTSD registered with the federal government compared with 2010, indicating a growing interest in the field.

“Mindfulness-based approaches are acceptable in veterans and service members, safe, easy to learn, portable and cost-effective, with encouraging preliminary results in clinical and neuroimaging studies,” she said. “Engaging patients in a patient-centered collaborative care model through use of mindfulness approaches to self-manage their chronic mental illness may lead to increased levels of functioning, improved health outcomes, and decreased health care costs.”

Disclosure: Khusid reports no relevant financial disclosures.

extra: Meditation helps dealing with PTSD for African refugees.


First Yoga Class

Today for the first time i went to a yoga class.

We went to one of The Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Nynramibo neighborhood. Deirdre was teaching and i made pictures and assisted her.
There were around 20 woman, young and old ones, who just had a counseling session before yoga class. They are all victims of domestic violence. The language we are teaching is Kinyarwandan, so i do have start to practice that now! I learned a few words, and that’s already very helpful. One word like ‘Rambura’ which means ‘straighten’ and then point out what part of the body you want them to make more straight does miracles. Also ‘Ne force pas’, don’t force in French and ‘relaxer’ were very helpful and then point out the spot you mean by touching it.
What i experienced was simply awesome! I got so excited being here in this room. The energy was very good and the woman are so excited and willing to try and practice. They did really well! The woman are strong and sweet. They laugh and smile which is not normal behavior for them. Outside of this room, in their normal lives they don’t laugh like this, they are beaten up hard and their children got raped… Under this layer of smiling, the women are depressed and very tight in their shoulders and neck. The young ones seemed more depressive than the older woman. But they didn’t complain, they were grateful. They are the teachers as much as we are…

Hotel Rwanda

|| Luck is when preparation meets opportunity ||

Opportunity i was given, or was created… preparations are made. I’ts pretty hard to imagine what is going to happen soon and thus, pretty hard to prepare properly. Vaccines, visas and  money, not so hard. Prepare my soul on where i will go, more tough. I am reading about Rwanda, about the history and yesterday i watched this movie again, Hotel Rwanda. Horrible to see the suffering of these people during the Genocide, for both the Hutu’s and the Tutsi’s. As the one is slaughtered and the other one feels the need to kill their own kind… mankind. Sad for all of them. And now they’re left with the hangover.

For the survivors, fear and sadness and whatever negative emotion else became a part of them, so big, it would take over their lives. With depression and PTSD as a result. Rwanda, Africa is far away, a small country but they need help. And what could be my contribution? Lucky i feel that i found a way to help. I found this organization Project Air and will work with them this summer, help woman and children cope with their trauma’s trough the art of Yoga.

In this blog i will collect my experiences to inform and hopefully inspire others in anyway. Please read and please leave feedback whenever you feel like it.