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Healing Our Troops

Our nation’s veterans are facing a health care crisis: more troops than ever before have returned home with the burden of posttraumatic stress. Estimates reflect that 800,000 of them will suffer from this challenging and often debilitating condition. They are living with life-threatening symptoms of mental illness: depression, frustration, sleeplessness, nightmares and flashbacks and feelings of isolation. Many are unable to work and are filled with anger and despair. And veterans are not the only ones affected. Their families suffer with them, while health care providers serving vets are dealing with their own stress and trauma.

The CMBM model is designed to effectively address this crisis. As described in The New York Times, For Veterans, A Surge of New Treatments for Trauma: “The Center for Mind-Body Medicine’s program…is the most comprehensive of all of them, giving veterans a variety of different strategies to choose from: breathing, meditation, guided visual imagery, bio-feedback, self-awareness, dance, self-expression, drawing. And it is the one with the strongest evidence that it works to cure PTSD.”

Since 2007, CMBM has been working to bring the population-wide healing model that has worked so well in traumatized regions overseas to US troops, veterans and their families. We train military, VA and civilian health providers working with these populations nationwide, as well as veteran peer counselors. We bring them to our annual Mind-Body Medicine Professional Trainings, and provide ongoing supervision as they incorporate mind-body skills groups into their institutions and communities.

From A Fighting Chance, Southwest Airlines Spirit Magazine, Feb. 2014:

When a vet is in his body for the first time, stuff comes up. It’s like when you’re frostbit. You don’t feel anything, but when you start coming out of it, it’s painful. They’ll talk about how much it hurts. It’s scary. But stay with it [the mind-body skills they learn], and what you start noticing is the veterans get back their fuel for life.Joseph Graca, a clinical psychologist who has run mind-body skills groups at the VA in St. Cloud, MN

Our Impact

  • 400 health professionals and veteran peer counselors who work with active duty, veterans, and/or their families, have been trained in mind-body medicine
  • Graduates come from 37 states
  • Over 30 Veterans Administration Health Centers, clinics, military bases and institutions are currently implementing our model.
  • The demand for CMBM’s simple, effective, non-stigmatizing approach is growing.

Our Research

Research In Progress

The Department of Defense (DOD) has awarded the Center a grant to study the effects of mind-body skills groups on veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq 

  • The study will be performed at the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Healthcare System in collaboration with investigators there. We will be measuring the effect of mind-body skills groups on PTSD, anger, quality of sleep, depression, anxiety, health-related quality of life, and posttraumatic growth (positive psychological changes that can occur as a result of trauma exposure).