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Free Imagery Stream on Huffpo; New Inroads to PTSD

17 May

Huffington Post, along with Health.com, is featuring a series of articles on ways to de-stress during the month of May, called Unplug and Recharge.  Each day they add more approaches.  There’s some really good stuff in here - even if some of the content is not completely new to you, you’ll find good reminders and new ways of thinking about the suggestions - about breathing, yoga, how to eat, exercising, positive mind-tricks, changing the way you use time, clearing away clutter, and lots more.

I got to add a little piece of my own, describing guided imagery, complete with a link to a free audio stream. That’s here.

One of the things I say about imagery in that piece: 

“I love it because it's also democratic and inclusive. You don't have to be smart, disciplined, physically strong, mature, mentally healthy, well-educated or knowledgeable to use it well. We have studies showing benefits even to those with dementia and developmental disability. It's also collegial -- it will complement any number of other approaches without stepping all over them.”

NPR had an interesting story last week about the epigenetic effects of trauma - how trauma can effect the DNA and get passed along to the next generation. They interview a researcher from Columbia named Dr. Sandro Galea. Actually, Dr. Rachel Yehuda has been studying this phenomenon in people (Holocaust survivors, Vietnam vets, sexual abuse survivors), not to mention buckets o’ mice, for years now, and has churned out hundreds of mindboggling articles on this.  It’s fascinating stuff and supports the idea that PTS is a biochemical and neurophysiological condition that needs to be approached and treated as such.

Another recent story in the journal Pain Practice described some new research from Walter Reed Army Medical Center, about an injection designed to deliver immediate relief of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

Called Stellate Ganglion Block, it’s a ten minute procedure that injects a local anesthetic to a bundle of nerves in the neck. According to the article, it appears to offer a quick and effective remedy to PTS.  Eugene Lipov, a Chicago-based anesthesiologist, says this could be an alternative to the meds and other treatments now being used to treat the flashbacks, anger, anxiety, sleep disturbances of PTS.

Lipov says that traditional treatment with therapy and antidepressants can take many months (if ever) to relieve PTSD symptoms, but the jab works within 30 minutes, with no side effects. It needs more testing to determine if it’s safe.

And a recent conference sponsored by MAPS, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, featuring speakers from Johns Hopkins, Harvard, Purdue, UCLA, NYU and leading European universities, explored the possible benefits of psychedelic drugs on posttraumatic stress. Craig Comstock’s full story can be found here.

So clearly people are looking for inventive new solutions in not so likely places, and that’s a very good thing.

By the way, we’ve finally gotten around to updating our events calendar.  I’ll be giving a talk in Cleveland on June 8th (Wade Park V.A. Hospital’s nurses’ training), in Knoxville on June 26th (The Wellness Community’s all-day workshop, Cancer as a Turning Point) and in San Antonio July 19th (The San Antonio Military Medical Center’s resiliency training for healthcare providers, Compassion Fatigue, Burnout & Self-Care.)  More is coming, so do keep checking for new postings.

OK, that’s it for now.

Take care and be well,



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