The media keep figuring it out: Yoga helps veterans with PTSD

We’ve passed on a few of the times that mainstream media picks up the story that yoga can help veterans with PTSD as they heal from their wounds. The latest — and maybe the biggest — came earlier this week in the Los Angeles Times. Here’s the story from San Diego:

Army 1st Sgt. Chris Montera, who lost both legs above the knee and suffered third-degree burns over 60% of his body in a mortar attack in Afghanistan, is doing a headstand, guided by yoga instructor Sunny Keays.

“It takes a lot of pressure off my back and spine,” said Montera, 33, who was on his fourth combat tour when he was hurt. “It helps with the pain.”


To help military personnel overcome the physical and emotional wounds from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, hospitals run by the military and the Department of Veterans Affairs are increasingly turning to the ancient Hindu practice of yoga and other alternative therapies, including tai chi, transcendental meditation and Reiki.

Although not a cure-all, such therapies can be helpful when used in conjunction with Western methods of counseling, medication, and physical and occupational therapy, according to military officials.

Preliminary military studies have found that the calming effect of yoga can assist PTSD patients in dealing with the hypervigilance, flashbacks, depression and anxiety common to the condition. For veterans with traumatic amputations, yoga can help strengthen muscles and increase flexibility, the studies suggest.

The story goes on in the way these do: It probably will feel thin to you, who knows perhaps too much, but for those who don’t it offers a quick bit of insight. Oh, and isn’t there something else going on in San Diego involving yoga that this might be a counter to…? Although the instructors in this piece are Iyengar teachers.

Posted by Steve