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Mind-Body Tools Help Post-Deployment Couples

18 Mar

Researchers from the firm of Collinge & Associates in Eugene, Oregon, reported on pilot data from phase I of a project to develop and evaluate a self-directed program of integrative therapies for National Guard personnel and significant others to support reintegration and resilience after return from Iraq or Afghanistan.
 
Data was reported on 43 couple pairs.  The intervention was an integrated multimedia package of guided meditative, contemplative, and relaxation exercises (on CD), and instruction in simple massage techniques (DVD) to promote stress reduction and interpersonal connectedness.

A repeated measures design with standardized instruments was used to establish stability of baseline levels of relevant mental health domains (day 1, day 30), followed by the intervention and assessments 4 and 8 weeks later.

Weekly online reporting tracked the degree of utilization of the guided exercises and massage.
 
Significant improvements in standardized measures for posttraumatic stress, depression, and self-compassion were seen in both veterans and partners; and in stress for partners.

Veterans reported significant reductions in ratings of physical pain, physical tension, irritability, anxiety/worry, and depression after massage, and longitudinal analysis suggested declining baseline levels of tension and irritability.
 
Citation: Collinge W, Kahn J, Soltysik R. Promoting reintegration of National Guard veterans and their partners using a self-directed program of integrative therapies: a pilot study. Military Medicine. 2012 Dec;177 (12): pages 1477-85.

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award