I’m so encouraged by the fact that there is so much medical research lately on trauma recovery.
I’m excited to share two of these awesome new studies with you today, so that you can start to use these techniques right this very moment for support and relief.
The first study comes from research done on combat-related PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and insomnia on veterans.
This is the first randomized controlled medical study comparing mantram therapy as a treatment for PTSD. Results from this study were published in the American Journal of Psychiatry on June 20, 2018.
- 173 veterans were enrolled in the study, 89 of them using mantra therapy (focusing on a repeating a mantra) and 84 using talk therapy (with a focus on problem solving) for an hour long session once a week for 8 weeks straight.
- They were randomly assigned to each group and the assessments were done blindly (meaning the therapist did not know which patient was doing which therapy when assessing symptoms and monitoring progression) before treatment, after treatment on week 9, and at the two months follow up after the conclusion of the study (week 17.)
- The results showed that focusing on a mantra provided a clinically significant, meaningful improvement to the veterans PTSD symptoms that were sustainable, and worked particularly well for insomnia… better than the talk therapy did.
- Patients from the mantra group actually had larger improvements to their insomnia and equally good improvements to other symptoms, such as depression and anger.
The results showed that the mantra results were as robust as traditional talk therapy treatments that were trauma-focused.
That means, that even if you have resistance to focusing on the actual traumatic event to work through your trauma, you can have every bit as meaningful recovery when you focus on a mantra as opposed to the trauma!
This is huge news.
In addition, equally exciting, is that the improvements from mantra therapy were sustained for months after the treatment ended, with more patients being PTSD free after mantra therapy than traditional talk therapy (60% of mantra patients were PTSD free at 2 months after intervention, compared to 40% of the talk therapy group.)
It’s simple, it’s convenient — and it’s free (as a huge advocate for grounding therapy, you know I am a big fan of free therapies that allow patients to take control over their own health.)
This study is so incredibly valuable I feel, because as someone who admittedly has a very difficult time with meditating for any length of time, I feel that knowing that just repeating a single word has literally been clinically shown to make a significant difference in improving quality of life and treating insomnia, anxiety and other PTSD symptoms is such a relief.
Slowing down your thoughts and practicing sustaining a point of attention on just a single repeated word or phrase was shown to help patients cope with daily anxiety, fear, anger, depression and insomnia.
You can practice a healing mantra any time, any where.
It’s very private and very powerful.
I love the healing practice of mantra repetition so much (and have used it in my own life to help cope with stress with exceptional results!) that I’ve included this healing practice in my Daily Healing Idea Cards as you can see in the center card I’m holding here:
All it takes is literally a few deep breaths, repeating a word or phrase with each in breath and out breath.
In medicine, we know it only takes three deep breaths to significantly support your vagal nerve tone, which helps modulate your autonomic nervous system. Meaning your heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure and more all get calmed and centered and soothed… and pain actually significantly decreases as well.
So my recommendation is to take 3 or more deep breaths while repeating your mantra of choice, and do this throughout the day as needed.
The second study on PTSD that I want to share with you today might further explain why exactly this mantra helps.
In this study, researchers used a medication called a beta-blocker (propranolol) to slow down and regulate the heart rate of patients with PTSD prior to them recalling traumatic events in therapy. The results of this study were published in the American Journal of Psychiatry on Jan 12, 2018.
- 60 adult patients with long standing, documented PTSD were randomly assigned to receive either the prescription drug propranolol, or a placebo, prior to memory re-activation therapy once a week for 6 weeks straight.
- Patients were assessed by the clinician during treatment using the PTSD scale, and completed a self assessment questionnaire after each therapeutic session as well.
- The results? Symptoms were significantly reduced, by about 50%, in patients receiving the propranolol.
In other words, the physical and emotional discomfort the patients both experienced and reported during PTSD triggers was cut in half, just by having heart rate controlled.
This regulation of the heart rate made recalling traumatic memories less emotionally disturbing, allowing them to be processed and re-consolidated in a different way by the brain.
This allows us to process and release repressed memories that we might not otherwise even tolerate processing because of how physically uncomfortable it is to re-experience and recall a traumatic event.
Taking propranolol before re-activiting the traumatic event made a clinically significant difference in how comfortable these patients were in recalling traumatic events, simply because of the fact that they did not feel their heart rate speed up or pound in their chest during therapy.
But you can have this exact same type of support naturally, without the prescription medication, by simply supporting vagal tone.
I believe this is one of the reasons the mantra therapy, as shown above, was so successful. Supporting vagal tone naturally calms and regulates heart rate, decreases blood pressure, slows respiratory rate, even decreases pain in a meaningful way.
Approximating this with prescription medications may provide some relief, but better than a medicated approximation of a supported calmed heart beat is to actually calm your heart rhythm down with vagal tone stimulation.
This calming response is possible in two completely natural, holistic ways:
1. Breathe Deeply.
The first way, as discussed above, is with deep breathing.
It only takes 3 deep breaths to produce a supported vagal response.
The mantras I suggest on my Daily Healing Cards are:
breathing in: I am lovable
breathing out: I am loved
breathing in: I am safe
breathing out: I am taken care of by God
breathing in: I am protected
breathing out: I am healing
Grounding immediately boosts vagal tone, calms heart rate, lowers blood pressure, slows respiratory rate, and decreases pain.
Grounding supports your vagal tone so well that it actually helped premature infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to improve outcome.
Read this article on my blog right here to find out more about that important study.
If you are suffering from trauma, from insomnia, from anxiety, from depression, from anger, or any other stress… support your recovery and release by simply focusing on a mantra and by grounding.
So here is my recommendation to implement these tools today:
- start the day with a few deep breaths while you breathe a self selected, calming mantra in and out
- get grounded outside, touching the earth for at least a few minutes each day during daylight hours
- breathe your mantra in and out for a few deep breaths each evening before bedtime
- and sleep grounded all night long.
Yep, it only takes a few weeks to start to reap the benefits of these all natural healing practices and the results can be maintained sustainably for the rest of your life.
Want more advice on how to naturally heal from stress and trauma?
I am teaching a brand new trauma healing class in just a few weeks, and I would love to have you join in.
No matter what you have gone through, you absolutely do have the ability to rebound from from it and create a new normal and a new health set point.
Every body does.
Your body naturally want’s to trend back to full and complete wellness… mind, body and spirit.
I’ll give you the tools to get there.
Save your spot in this by-reservation-only course by clicking right here today.
Moving onwards and upwards…