TM Helps Veterans for Decades

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By Denise Gerace Ph.D.

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For the last five years, my husband Joseph and I have had the honor and privilege of teaching TM to service personnel and Veterans in Southern Arizona. The changes we have seen have inspired us to do everything we can to make TM available to more and more military people. In this article, we invite you to meet some of our students and hear what they have experienced. But first, some background about the research on TM for Veterans issues.

In 1985 a young doctor, Jim Brooks, at the Denver VA, did a study documenting what happens when Veterans (in this case, Viet-nam era Veterans) learned TM-Transcendental Meditation. TM is a specific and particular meditation technique that is easy to do and quickly effective. Veterans enjoy doing it because it is deeply relaxing. It doesn’t not leave the Veteran alone inside with whatever comes: rather, it lets the Veteran follow a clear set of directions and experience deep refreshing relaxation coupled with inner ease and peace.

Dr. Brooks knew that Veterans enjoyed TM. They enjoyed being able to learn it easily, knowing that they were doing it correctly. And they enjoyed the feeling of relaxation and inner ease. But were they actually getting better? Should the VA include TM in its armory of tools to help heal the invisible wounds of war?

Dr. Brooks randomly assigned Veterans to TM, or to psychotherapy (the VA’s standard treatment), and after 3 months he measured the results. They were striking. He looked at the amount of change that the Veterans in the two treatments had experienced. He found major changes in six areas key to Veteran.

Emotional Numbness: Major improvement with TM, very small improvement with psychotherapy

R.D. is a man in his mid thirties, a Marine Veteran who returned to civilian life over a decade ago. He and the mother of his son have loved one another since high school, but recently she asked him to move out because he was just not emotionally available at home, for her, their son, or their home together. After learning TM, R.D. found himself spontaneously responding to her and their child, He found himself picking up the clutter, fixing little things on the ‘honey, do’ list, noticing how she felt, listening better. She felt that her dear friend and beloved partner was back with her, actually emotionally available to build a family rather than being lost in the inner world of his battle experiences, or his self-medication to deal with that.

Anxiety: Major improvement with TM, tiny positive change with psychotherapy

For years, all through her military service, L.K. wanted to go to college. In fact, to earn the G.I.Bill was a major reason she enlisted. She retired after 8 years and three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and headed for college. But she found that the self-directed routine of college life was a huge contrast with the orderly life in the military. Plus her level of anxiety made completing assignments (especially oral assignments) and taking tests very difficult, sometimes impossible. So she was watching her dream of earning her degree fade away. She learned TM through her college Vet Center and noticed good changes almost immediately. Instead of spending her study time watching TM or surfing the net, she completed her assignments. And she found herself much less anxious about talking, and writing, for her teachers. With her twice daily TM she can feel the stress of the day dissolve, and she is finding that the accumulated stress and PTSD from her military experience is also fading. Her grades are better and her goal of her college degree is back in her sights.

PTSD Scale: Major improvement with TM, very small positive change with psychotherapy

The PTSD scale. What a cold, neutral name for what it measures—intrusive thoughts, nightmares, believing the worst about one-self or others, no confidence in who one is or what one does, the aftermath of significant trauma. H.S. enlisted at 18 and retired after 30 years and multiple deployments. As far as he was concerned, he was ‘fine’, but his PTSD scores said otherwise. His wife and family had adjusted to the changes his service brought, accepting them as part of their service with him. He was distant, taciturn, withdrawn, often lost in his own world. Sometimes his temper flared, often for no reason its target could understand. When he learned TM, he and his family were happy that he had learned something that would be good for his high blood pressure,. They all were thrilled when the shadow of his experiences in war began to recede, returning to them all the genial, happy man of his youth.

Reduced alcohol use: HUGE improvement with TM, very small positive change with psychotherapy

Self-medication with alcohol-part of the right of passage of so many Veterans. A.J. didn’t drink much as a teenager, or even much as a soldier. But when he left the Army he turned to whiskey because a few drinks made the memories go away. It became quite a habit, every evening and later also every day. His Mother began to fear for his life since he drove drunk most of the time. And his mood got darker and darker—she lived in the daily fear that she would come into his room and find that he had taken his life. When A.J. learned TM he felt those memories fade and lose their grip, and as they faded the thirst for whiskey did also. His mother says “Thanks to TM, I have my son back.”

Insomnia: Major improvement with TM, the psychotherapy subjects’ sleep was worse

C.W. is a single mother to very active two year old boy. She is very hardworking, wanting to create the best future for her and her son. But she couldn’t sleep, didn’t sleep. Medications didn’t really help—she wasn’t feeling rested, she couldn’t be that groggy and properly care for her son. Her son was quite difficult, acting out, not sleeping either. She learned TM in order to do better at her work, but within a few days she found that she was sleeping easily. She was going to sleep in a few minutes, sleeping through the night, and awaking refreshed. Her co-workers commented on how much more responsibility she could handle easily. And her son settled down—when she slept, he slept as well, and that good rest let him be a happy, comfortable boy, responsive to his Mother’s guidance.

Depression: Major improvement with TM, very slight improvement with three months of psychotherapy

J.P. served for 20 years active duty and was completing 10 more years in the Reserves when a crisis at work ignited the sleeping trauma from deployment and left her deeply depressed and fearful of even going to work. She decided to learn TM because of the research documenting positive changes for highly stressed workers. Her first TM session was on a Saturday, and on Sunday J.P. reported that she had eaten a big lunch in complete comfort, the first meal she had eaten since the work crisis had thrown her into depression. A few days later she reported that she had driven onto base and not felt her entire body shut down from dread, as she had been experiencing since the crisis. Over the next few weeks her greater emotional availability and energy allowed her to navigate what she needed to do to handle the crisis and clear her name. The depression has not returned.

For more information about TM for Veterans: https://www.davidlynchfoundation.org/military

To learn TM in Tucson and Southern Arizona:

Denise and Joseph Gerace, jgerace@tm.org, 520-881-0110

To learn TM in Phoenix and Scottsdale:

William and Jan Romaine, phoenix@tm.org,

To learn TM in the Tempe-Mesa-Chandler area:

John and Gail Clessler, jclessler@tm.org

To learn TM in the Glendale and northwest Phoenix area, and in Northern Arizona:

Jeff and Kathy Tepper, jtepper@tm.org

 

 

 

 

 

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Former U.S. Navy Commander Now Spiritual Teacher Comes to Tucson April 10-14

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On April 14 the public is invited to hear former Commander Suzanne Giesemann U.S Navy commanding officer and aide to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff lecture in Tucson. (details below)

As a commander she walked the halls of the Pentagon and flew on Air Force One & she did everything by the book. A personal witness to the horrors of 9/11, she saw things in black and white, with little time for spiritual seeking. Never did she expect that a personal family tragedy would propel her on a mystical journey that would turn her life’s path in a most unexpected direction.

Suzanne has a Master’s Degree in National Security Affairs. In addition to her command tour and duties as aide to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff she served tours in naval intelligence, she taught political science at the U.S. Naval Academy, and was a plans and policy officer for the U.S. Southern Command. Her overseas assignments were in Panama and Japan. Her military decorations include the Combat Action Ribbon and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.

Now, Suzanne is a retired U.S. Navy Commander. She served as a commanding officer, as special assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations, and as Aide to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on 9/11.  Today Suzanne addresses questions about the purpose of life, the nature of reality, and attuning to higher consciousness. Her work has been recognized as highly credible by afterlife researcher Dr. Gary Schwartz, Ph.D., and best-selling author Dr. Wayne Dyer.  She serves on the advisory board of the Academy for Spiritual and Consciousness Studies.

Suzanne Giesemann is the author of eleven books, a spiritual teacher, and an evidential medium.  She captivates audiences as she brings hope, healing, and comfort through her work. Suzanne’s gift of communication with those on the other side provides stunning evidence of life after death. Touted as “a breath of fresh air” with “a quality that is so different from others that it is difficult to describe,” she brings messages of hope and love that go straight to the heart.

Youtube videos on her work: http://www.suzannegiesemann.com/videos/

 

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Traumatic Brain Injury: out of the “game”, but not out of danger! by Carol Henricks, M. D.

Awareness of concussion as a consequence of playing professional football and other sports and exposure to blast injuries for military veterans has reached an all – time high. A single bomb blast causes soldiers NFL – like brain trauma. The message has been received by the public: concussion is a real injury and you should NOT “go back into the game” after the injury. However the long term medical consequences of the injury – particularly if the brain has not healed – are less well established. With the recognition of acute and sub – acute concussion, players make decisions to stop playing sports altogether – they “get out of the game” while they believe they are still “cognitively clear”. But does that solve the problem ?

 

Young military veterans taken out of active duty or medically discharged don’t recover from their concussions even years after their injury and are often never able to re-enter the work force. The American Headache Association presented data at their July 2012 meeting that even 8 years post concussion – injury, most veterans continued to have persistent headaches, sleep disturbance, cognitive and emotional problems. The link between concussion injury and neurodegenerative conditions in the NFL has been acknowledged ( at least by the players and the judge ) and resulted in a huge settlement to compensate injured players – and studies of concussion injured military veterans are supporting that conclusion. It is clear that a new approach to post – concussion management is necessary. It is time to put together a game plan to save the brain.

 

Our brains are like computers.

 

The brain is a complex network of fiber tracts: to carry out any brain function there is a locus of control and a network that needs to be activated.   Our brains are much more like computers than we would have believed. If the locus of control that triggers the algorithm / pathway is knocked out or there are “glitches in the system” the network cannot function as a cohesive system and the task is not completed. Multiple concussions destroy the control and networking of the brain and result in poor cognitive ability and a consequent failure to function in society.

 

 

Connections that extend from the neuron cell body and make connections with other areas of the brain are called axons. Axons gathered together form fiber tracts. The hallmark of concussive brain injury is diffuse shear injury to axons. The shear injury may involve only the fatty covering around the axon ( the myelin ) or it may also involve the underlying axon structural components. The extent of injury to the axon affects the ability to recover from the injury. A shear injury in the brain is like a glitch in a computer network.

 

Network connections are critical.

 

Fiber tract connections create networks. Fiber tracts formed from the right hemisphere ( for example ) connect to the left hemisphere through the corpus callosum. Connections through the corpus callosum allow the right side of the brain to know what the left side of the brain is doing and vice versa. Fiber tracts from the parietal lobes of the brain ( which perform sensory integration / visual association ) connect with the occipital lobes of the brain ( primary visual information processing ) so we can tell the difference between our visual reality versus stored visual images: is it real or a hallucination ? Fiber tracts connect the frontal lobes (which are responsible for decision making) with the temporal lobes of the brain (which store our memories of past experiences) so we can use our experience to help us make good decisions.   All these connections form networks which allow us to function in our world. If you disrupt these connections throughout the brain these disconnections or “glitches” result in poor cognitive function. And then things get worse.

 

Disconnections and loss of brain cell function are the basis for post – concussion symptoms.

 

Disconnections create problems in an acute injury, but if these connections never heal, there is chronic brain injury. Even if new networks are formed by “re-wiring”, the injured brain cells begin a degenerative process and as the neurons “die back” brain cells are lost. Dysfunction worsens over time if new connections are not formed and old connections and damaged neurons do not heal. Healing is not guaranteed. Spontaneous healing in both the Central Nervous System ( CNS ) and the Peripheral Nervous System ( PNS ) is a very slow process. Amazing cases of people “waking up” after spending many years in a persistent vegetative state following brain injury are examples of people naturally healing over time.

 

A traditional approach to recovery is observation and supportive care.

 

Medications do not create healing. Medications do not inhibit cell death or any neurodegenerative process. Non-healing is where the pathology of neurodegenerative disease begins. The current medical model of treatment for an individual who has sustained a concussion is to avoid further injury and let the brain heal itself over time using adjunctive therapies such as physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy. Re -evaluations by neurologists may establish that a concussion injured person has achieved a certain baseline of functional recovery, but that is not confirmation that injury has healed and that an individual will avoid future consequences of that injury. There is no standard of care therapy that has been recognized to treat brain injury.

 

Making the connection: the consequences of injury.

 

The consequence of significant untreated concussion injury is early onset neurodegenerative disease. The more concussions, the worse the cumulative brain injury. Injured brain cells that do not heal die, and may help to create the clinical syndromes of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and ALS for example. SPECT scans have been a helpful tool to identify injured areas of brain. New imaging techniques such as brain MRI with DTI may be a better choice to show the disruption of connections caused by concussion as well as providing a follow – up measure of healing. It’s time to refocus our thinking on healing. The future is now and therapies to recover brain function are available.

 

HBOT is essential because every healing reaction requires oxygen.

 

Revolutionary emerging technologies will change neurological recovery forever. The operative term here is the recoverable brain. Our brains are designed to learn all throughout our life, and brain cells may heal given the proper support. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy ( HBOT ) is the first therapy that has been demonstrated to heal brain injury. The extensive research of Dr. Paul Harch covers the basic science of healing with HBOT, animal research and human research and his work has been submitted to the FDA confirming the effectiveness. There has been more research on HBOT than on any drug or device ever approved by the FDA. Dr. Harch’s textbook “The Oxygen Revolution” outlines his years of research and experience in treating brain injury. HBOT therapy is radically different than simply providing oxygen by nasal cannula in a hospital setting at atmospheric pressure. HBOT creates oxygen radicals which in a hyperoxic environment stimulate healing mechanisms including activation of intracellular healing processes, stem cell mobilization and modification of gene expression.

 

Brain recovery requires building from basic nutritional essentials.

 

For healing to take place, nutrient optimization including consumption of proper fats, adequate proteins, critical trace minerals, balanced electrolytes and smart sugars. Without the proper building blocks for recovery, the brain cannot recover. Please see our article, written with neuropharmacologist Dr. Tim Marshall: “Nutrition for the wounded warrior: it takes more than a vitamin” for details.

 

Neurobiofeedback is a simple retraining of the brain.

 

Brain waves may be retrained to a pattern that will minimize an anxiety reaction or to help activate less active areas of the brain. Even an injured brain is able to learn, re – wire, re – network. Brain Paint for example is an excellent Neurobiofeedback program for recovery. Re-establishing the normal rhythms of the electrical activity of the brain promotes functional recovery.

 

Magnetic fields enhance intracellular energy so that healing can take place.

 

Magnetic fields, particularly pulsed electromagnetic field therapy or PEMF results in direct energy transfer intracellularly to facilitate healing. PEMF has been used in Germany to treat advanced dementia and Down’s syndrome with great results. It is being studied in the US for TBI recovery. A similar but more focused tool is transcranial magnetic stimulation ( TCMS ) which has been FDA approved to treat depression and is being studied in various neurology centers to treat patients post – stroke.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Autologous stem cell transplants boost recovery.

 

Safe, effective mechanisms for obtaining autologous stem cell transplants are available in the US. These procedures are primarily still under IRB protocols and are self – pay but are proving to be a powerful adjunctive therapy for recovery. Initial results from physicians performing that procedure indicate that it is a very safe treatment and results for patients with neurodegenerative conditions including severe TBI have been positive.

 

Save your brain.

 

Concussion is a major contributing factor to neurodegenerative conditions; although there are many other factors impact brain health and healing. A potentially huge “at risk” population for neurodegenerative disease exists and it is not only an “end – of – life” phenomenon. Functional recovery of an injured brain has never been as possible as it is now. Combining available therapies, a good nutritional baseline and lifestyle habits the best neurological recovery can be achieved. It is critical to anticipate the consequences of post – concussion injury and actively pursue healing therapies.

 

Are You Being Properly Diagnosed At Your VA Hospital?

Brain scan photos by Cerescan. http://www.cerescan.com

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Many of our Healing Arizona Veterans supporters are aware that we have been trying hard to get a major media source to disclose that many combat veterans are often being mis-diagnosed with a PTSD condition and treated with cocktails of drugs when they actually have a TBI from their frequent exposure to IED explosions when on active duty. Above are some current brain scans from a diagnostic equipment manufacturer named CERESCAN. IF our VA hospitals had this type equipment  proper diagnosis could be done and there would be less psychotropic drugs prescribed and proper healing could begin with HBOT therapy. Please share and make more veterans aware

We MUST do everything possible to STOP our veterans from choosing suicide and give them renewed hope  that there is a solution to help them recover their lives. Entire families are affected by a veteran’s suicide needlessly.  Give them HOPE  and they will chose healing over death every time.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy can help STOP veteran suicides.

Every veteran and active duty military member needs to listen to this radio interview with Army Ranger Special Ops veteran Clint Chamberlin. The information you will receive could be life changing and if shared with a fellow soldier in distress could be life-saving.He will share with you how it helped him back from the darkness that began to consume his life.

 I am sure it may finally open peoples eyes to see a REAL treatment that could very well REDUCE the number of veteran suicides in our country.
Hear Army Ranger Clint Chamberlin on Radio. It could be very important to those suffering TBI/PTSD. To get to the Clint Chamberlin interview fast forward to minute 56:30. I wish every post 9/11 veteran would listen to this interview. 
PLEASE share this with as many people you can. The antiquated therapies of using drugs to help treat conditions such as TBI/PTSD  IS NOT WORKING. If you look at the number of veteran suicides DAILY should prove that to everyone.
My non-profit Healing Arizona Veterans has been trying hard to share the knowledge presented in this radio interview with members of Congress and main street media. Big Pharma has done everything possible to stop this information from reaching our veterans including their influence on our FDA.
Because of veterans like Clint Chamberlin and many others the “Genie is now out of the bottle” and can never return. Once you learn this knowledge you cannot deny it exists. Our veteran’s lives depend on getting this information out there. PLEASE share with others.

MORAL INJURY by Father Nathan Castle

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We need you religious and spiritual leaders to step up your game. There’s not a pill for everything.”

I wasn’t sure why I was attending this conference on the needs of military veterans and their families until those words rumbled through me.

The keynote speaker at the front of the assembly hall was Dr. William Nash, Director of Psychological Health for the U. S Marine Corps. And I’m Father Nathan Castle, OP, a Catholic priest with very little knowledge of military anything. I have worked with young men and women the age of many who are currently deployed during a long career in campus ministry. I believe I’m an expert in healing the hidden wounds of the soul. That day last April, at the opening session of the symposium of the Arizona Coalition for Military Families, I wanted to enlist on the spot in the effort to bring peace to soldiers’ hearts.

Have you heard that phrase before, Moral Injury? Less than a year ago it was new to me; now it’s a new direction in my life’s work. Here’s how the VA introduced the term in 2009:

Moral Injury is disruption in an individual’s confidence and expectations about his or her own moral behavior or others’ capacity to behave in a just and ethical manner… The lasting impact of moral injury in war remains chiefly unaddressed.”

 I’ve also heard it put this way, describing the experience of combat veterans:

You used to believe the world was good. But now you don’t.

You used to believe that you were good. But now you don’t.

You used to believe that God was good. But now you don’t.

You used to believe that your future would be good. But now you don’t.”

 Isn’t this what PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome) is all about? I asked that question. Dr. Nash explained that only 15% of those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan get that specific diagnosis. He explained that only a psychiatrist like himself can officially make that diagnosis, and that there are as many as six behaviors which must be evidenced. Many veterans’ suffering doesn’t rise to that level or is not manifest in dissociative breaks with reality that can plague PTSD sufferers. But something is behind the loss of 22 veterans a day to suicide, many of whom were not diagnosed with PTSD.

Some are now speaking of a “soul wound” and a need for “soul repair.” If you think there could be something to this, check out the Soul Repair Center at the Brite Divinity School, part of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. Here’s the link to their website: http://brite.edu/academics/programs/soul-repair/. I’m at work on what I’m calling “The No Place Like Home Project.” My first public event,

“The Spiritual Path to Peaceful Sleep” for survivors of trauma was held on January 4, 2016 at La Mariposa Resort in Tucson. If you’d like to know more about that, email me at ncastle@stanford.edu or check out my websites nathan-castle.com and andtoto.org. I’m planning to attend the Arizona Coalition for Military Families 7th Annual Statewide Symposium in Phoenix, April 20th and 21st. I’d love to meet you there.