Mantra Effective For PTSD
- As reported in Medicalnewstoday.com:
Latest Research Shows How Mantrams Can Even
Tackle Post-traumatic Stress
Main Category: Complementary Medicine News
Article Date: 05 Mar 2006 - 13:00pm (UK)
Repeating mantrams can help control the symptoms of
post-traumatic stress disorder, have a calming effect
in traffic and even ease the boredom of exercise,
according to a study in the latest issue of Journal
of Advanced Nursing.
83 per cent of veterans and hospital staff surveyed
after a five-week mantram course told researchers
from the US Department of Veterans Affairs that they
found the technique â" which involves silently and
continuously repeating calming words or phrases
throughout the day - useful on a number of occasions.
Just under a quarter of these occasions (24 per cent)
related to traffic and work-related stress, 13 per cent
to insomnia and 12 per cent to unwanted thoughts. More
than half (51 per cent) related to emotional situations.
"Repeating the mantram seemed to stop post-traumatic
stress disorder-type dreams that had occurred for 10
to 11 years" said a former veteran and one of the 66
people taking part in the survey.
"I have racing thoughts. I think about a ton of
things " what I'm going to do about this and what
I'm going to do about that " and then I start the
mantram and it helps" added another.
A third found that using a mantram had an unexpectedly
healthy side effect, commenting: "I use it sometimes
when I'm on the treadmill at the gym. When I'm wishing
that the time would go a little faster. And I'll just
start using my mantram and then I forget about it and
it helps me exercise a little longer."
"The people taking part in the study found that silently
repeating a specific word or phrase helped them to handle
a number of difficult situations" explains lead researcher
Jill E Bormann, Research Nurse Scientist at the
Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System in California.
Dr Bormann and her fellow researchers " from the
Universities of California and North Carolina deliberately
chose two highly stressed groups to take part in the study.
"Veterans are well known to have many chronic physical
and mental health symptoms that interfere with their
quality of life and their ability to live normal
everyday lives. Similarly, hospital employees have
high levels of job stress, leading to decreased job
satisfaction and subsequent increases in healthcare
costs" she explains.
People taking part in the five-week course, which
comprised a one-and-a-half hour session a week, were
taught to choose and repeat a cue word or mantram
frequently during the day, using guidelines drawn
from The Mantram Handbook by Eknath Easwaran of the
Blue Mountain Center of Meditation in Tomales, California.
Easwaran describes mantrams as a "spiritual formula
for transformation". Dr Bormann calls them a "jacuzzi
for the mind", adding that "using a word that embodies
spirituality helps to initiate the relaxation response and
"People taking part in our study were encouraged to
use the mantram during ordinary and relaxing times,
so that they associated it with a calming effect when
they needed to use it during times of turmoil" she
explains. "Easwaran advises that people use it when they
need it and use it when they don't!"
Most of the volunteers from southern California who took
part chose words or phrases that reflected their
religious beliefs. People without specific beliefs
chose other soothing phrases.
29 of the 30 veterans were male, with an average age
of 63. Seven had been diagnosed with a psychiatric
disorder and six suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.
31 of the 36 hospital staff were female with an average
age of 50 and two had a psychiatric diagnosis.
"Mantram repetition may be useful in diverse modern
populations for managing a variety of internal emotional
states that sometimes appear endemic to technological
society, such as anger, frustration and impatience" says
Dr Bormann has just received research funding from the
Department of Veterans Affairs to carry out further
investigation into the benefits of mantram repetition
for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
She has also been working on a project to see if mantram
repetition decreases anger and increases spiritual faith
in adults with HIV.
Further information and press copies of the full paper are available
from Annette Whibley, Wizard Communications wordwizard@...
Notes to editors
# Mantram repetition for stress management in veterans and employees:
a critical incident study. Bormann et al. VA San Diego Healthcare
System, San Diego, California, USA. Journal of Advanced Nursing.
Volume 53.5. Pages 502-512. (March 2006).
# The Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System provides acute and
primary care to San Diego veterans through its medical center and
community clinics. It is a designated Center of Excellence for Post-
Traumatic Stress Disorder.
# Journal of Advanced Nursing, which is celebrating its 30th
anniversary in 2006, is read by experienced nurses, midwives, health
visitors and advanced nursing students in over 80 countries. It
informs, educates, explores, debates and challenges the foundations
of nursing health care knowledge and practice worldwide. Edited by
Professor Alison Tierney, it is published 24 times a year by
Blackwell Publishing Ltd, part of the international Blackwell
Publishing group. http://www.journalofadvancednursing.com/
Contact: Annette Whibley
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.