Aussie Vets Turning To Yoga And Meditation To Deal With PTSD

The ADF, Australian Defense Force, is dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder plaguing their personnel, and they’re turning to yoga, meditation and pilates in Kellyville and across the country in order to alleviate issues. To that end, they’re calling for easier access to these newer therapies.

One such ADF personnel is Wing Commander Nick Dyce-McGowan, who began to suffer from PTSD following being stationed as an air traffic controller in Iraq back in 2004. He says that he was put into a foul mood, one that lasted for a full decade, where he was angry, irritable, and pushed friends and family.

McGowan turned to psychologists, and military medical staff, and then he heard of a meditation technique that was developed for US troops. He admits that he was reluctant about the whole thing, but he decided to give a shot since he was out of options.

His wife noted that there was a positive improvement after his first session. He chalks up the usefulness of yoga, meditation and pilates in Kellyville and anywhere else as due to the self-regulation inherent in the method; making people aware of what’s going on in their head and how they react to the world.

McGowan has been utilizing the method of meditation known as iRest, or integrative restoration meditation, developed for former and active troops suffering from PTSD, as well as anxiety and depression.

The therapy gained traction following an endorsement from the US Army Surgeon-General, backed up by a 2006 study.

Australian Defence and Veterans Affairs officials met with the people behind the study back in 2018 to determine whether they’d test the method.

McGowan says that the daily meditation and weekly yoga helps, extolling his belief that it’s saved his life, and it might be able to do the same for other people. Other veterans have backed him up, like former Air Force Sergeant Autumn Bell.

The Richmond Air Force base, the Victoria Barracks, and Brisbane’s Enoggera Barracks already offer trauma-sensitive meditation courses. On top of that, Victoria and Perth teaches these courses as a resilience training tool for special forces soldiers.

Veterans, Ms. Bell included, are asking for easier access, though they are aware that they have to submit scientific data, complete with research and statistics to the Defence and Veterans Affairs before anything happens.

Director General for Health Policy, Programs and Assurance David Morton, Joint Health Command for Defence, says that evidence-based treatments, like exposure therapy are the current priority for treating soldiers with PTSD.

He says that they’re working to help people work through their issues by reducing their avoidance, by exposing them to the memory of their trauma safely, and then helping them work through it. He notes that complementary treatments showed promise, with some evidence backing it up.

The ADF, he says, is aware of the use of these therapies, and they’re looking into the matter.