The Combat Hippies strive to educate, entertain, and empower those looking to turn Post-Traumatic Stress into Post-Traumatic Growth. We usually do not use the word “Disorder” because of the unconstructive association it has towards healing; however, lets face it, you would not have found this article if it did not contain buzzwords such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.
Before we get to the “4 Innovative Ways to Help Boost Your Ability to Heal PTSD”, please take note of the importance of the issue. About 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, and about 8% of the U.S. population are affected by Post-Traumatic Stress. In addition, there are over 22 veteran suicides a day and according to the National Center for PTSD, there is a correlation between trauma survivors and increased suicide risks.
Now that the importance of healing is has been thoroughly expressed, let us move on to how:
(Photo Credit: Juan Carlos Taminchi)
From the Jungles of the Amazon, to the deserts of the Midwestern United States, indigenous cultures such as the Inca or Navajo, have used psychedelic plant medicine to treat various conditions throughout their history. Some of the most commonly used are Ayahuasca, Psilocybin Mushrooms, Peyote, San Pedro, or Iboga, and are all schedule 1 drugs according to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Despite them being illegal in the United States, researchers have explored the healing properties of psychedelics. As stated on the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (M.A.P.S.) website,
“Some cases of PTSD are considered untreatable. But researchers are seeing dramatic results from therapy that uses psychedelic drugs to treat PTSD, depression and addiction. Therapy involving substances like Psilocybin and MDMA, better known as ecstasy, show 80 percent success rates years after treatment.”
For more insight, check out this clip from a documentary showcasing veterans going to the amazon to seek treatment for PTSD.
2. Float Therapy
(Photo Credit: Aqua Float)
You might ask yourself, what does floating in water with 10,000 pounds of salt that has been heated to 98.6 degrees have to do with healing trauma?
Check out a short news clip below about Iraq War Veteran, Cody Austell, who shared the powerful experience he had with a Sensory Deprivation Tank:
(Video Credit: Local 12, WKRC, Cincinnati, Television)
For a more spiritual and in depth explanation provided by Joe Rogan, please see the video below:
(Original Audio: The Joe Rogan Experience Podcast #40
http://sh.st/qB4zs Video Credit: youtube.com/think )
To find float therapy provider near you click here
(Photo Credit: Downtown Los Angeles Hypnotherapy Center)
Bioenergetics is a specific form of body-psychotherapy based upon the relationship between body and mind. This form of therapy is rooted in the work of Wilhelm Reich, and is practiced by licensed psychotherapists with specialized training. Sessions may include massage, tapping on areas of the body holding extreme tension, intense bouts of rage, and even uncontrollable laughter.
In terms of Post-Traumatic Stress, Bioenergetics blends traditional therapeutic methods with body-centered techniques to help people resolve their emotional problems and enhance their well-being. As detailed in the seminar “How Trauma Affects the Brain”, Dr Teresa Burke, Ph.D stated,
“Traumatic memories stay “stuck” in the brain’s nether regions–the nonverbal, unconscious, subcortical regions (amygdala, thalamus, hippocampus, hypothalamus and brain stem)–where they are not accessible to the frontal lobes–the understanding, thinking, reasoning parts of the brain”(Source).
Symptoms of unhappiness and stress, such as insomnia, depression, anxiety, panic attacks and decreased sexuality, often are the result of unmet developmental needs, blocked emotional expression and chronic muscular tension (Source).
For more info, check out this video, in which Elliot Hulse details his experience with Bioenergetics, and even shows a portion of an actually therapy session.
4. Video Games
(Photo Credit: lifehacker.com)
Yes, you read that right, video games can in fact help ease symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress. According to a study conducted at Oxford University, “Playing Tetris — the venerable puzzle game featuring interlocking shapes — can keep bad memories or flashbacks at bay, easing their frequency and impact on those who have experienced trauma.” (source)
A phenomena known as “The Tetris Effect”, can be attributed for the lasting positive change mentioned above. Our brains are wired for survival and we have many survival mechanisms that are autonomic. One of them is a negativity bias. Our Brains are hardwired to pay more attention to negative memories, rather than the positive, in order to increase awareness, and be ready for dangerous situations.
By playing Tetris, your brain learns how to shut down certain areas for specific tasks, while making others more autonomic and also requiring less brain power. In other words, the research suggests that we can train our brains to utilize positive memories more efficiently, while simultaneous learning to let go of the negative.
If you are interested, there are virtual reality games out there, but are based on exposure therapy. As the author, I will lose my bearing for a second, and tell you that I have a personal bias against exposure therapy because I do not believe that you can heal trauma by re-traumatizing yourself. Now that the author has regained composure, he suggests to have your own experience with it.
In the realm of Post-Traumatic Stress, there are many different therapies available such as the ones mentioned above. The Combat Hippies do not suggest to that you completely abandon your current treatment plan; however, we do encourage furthering your education and trying new things. Once again, have your own experience and share it with us!