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First yoga study conducted with deployed military personnel. Results published in American Journal of Occupational Therapy. Study conducted at Forward Operating Base Warrior in Kirkuk, Iraq, by Air Force Major Jon H. Greuel, MHR, RYT.
The “Yoga Warriors Method” of Hatha yoga is an effective, low-risk means of managing combat stress, and potentially preventing combat stress from developing into Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), based on research conducted among U.S. military personnel at Forward Operating Base Warrior in Kirkuk, Iraq, Air Force Major Jon H. Greuel, MHR, RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) announced today.
“The Kirkuk study is the first yoga-related research ever conducted in a deployed environment,” said Greuel. “Teaching yoga in Kirkuk was a real eye-opener. I had a very clear ‘ah-ha’ moment a few days into the protocol. At the end of class, these keyed-up, sleep-deprived, EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) guys were breathing deeply and some were asleep, while machine guns rattled nearby.”
Yoga significantly reduced study participants’ anxiety created by situations (“state anxiety”) and innate personality (“trait anxiety”). Participants showed significantly greater improvement than a control group on 16 of 18 mental health and quality-of-life factors. For example, 54 percent reported sleep improvements, 37 percent reported feeling more calm, and 11 percent reported reduced frustration and anger. These improvements contributed to an increased ability to perform daily tasks.
“The big surprise of the study was the sleep improvements. As the reports states, yoga may provide the most practical, non-pharmaceutical option for soldiers with sleep difficulties,” Greuel said.
Results of the study, entitled “Effects of Sensory-Enhanced Yoga on Symptoms of Combat Stress in Deployed Military Personnel”, were published in the January 2012 issue of the American Journal of Occupational Therapy.
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