Veteran Overcomes PTSD with Help of Breathing Meditation

In this Healthy Living report, Time Warner Cable News’ Kristen Shaughnessy explains how yoga-based breathing techniques helped one veteran overcome post-traumatic stress disorder.

During his time in Iraq, US Army Veteran Tom Voss’ platoon sergeant and his squad leader were killed in action.

Voss tried to forget it all when he got home, and for two years he did, but then he found himself dealing with severe post-traumatic stress disorder.

"It got to the point where I had suicidal ideation, so I mean it was prominent in my life," Voss said.

He walked across the country with another veteran to decompress. Along the way, he was introduced to meditation and took the power of breath mediation workshop offered by Project Welcome Home Troops.

"It allowed me to connect with myself for the first time, and when you're in the military you have to kind of detach from your emotions to be able to do what you need to do over there otherwise you'd probably end up going crazy,” Voss said.

Dr. Emma Seppala, the author of "The Happiness Track,” says these are yoga-based breathing techniques.

"Our study looked at a one week breathing program and even if the veterans never did any of those techniques again, that one week was enough to reduce their anxiety to normal levels and to maintain those benefits one year later suggesting permanent improvement,” Seppala said.

She says breathing is a very simple yet powerful way for us to tap into our parasympathetic nervous system, that calming response that helps us deal with anxiety, that helps us sleep better, that gives us resilience in the face of stress.

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