BETTER ME … BETTER YOU … BETTER WORLD
MIND body spirit By mixing the ingredients of attitude and action, we can change the flavor of our own lives. Learn to nurture your body and soul to lead a more balanced life.
Not All WOUNDS Are VISIBLE WRITTEN LANGUAGE HAS
documented the impact of war. After the Civil War, men returning home were labeled “different” with “Soldier’s Heart” due to the changes in heart rate. In World War I, the term shifted to “Shell Shock” due to the perceived nerve damage from combat. By 1943, “Battle Fatigue” was the initial diagnosis of psychiatric cases. Over 700,000 Vietnam veterans returned home needing psychological help, which resulted in the acknowledgement of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a trauma and stressorrelated disorder which occurs after experiencing an event that involves a threat of injury, real injury, or witnessing death/ destruction. Those who have experienced trauma, have their natural fight vs. flight response damaged, often feeling stressed even in “safe” situations. A person may relive the event, avoid certain situations, experience negative changes in behaviors, and/or become hyper-aroused. Not all traumatic experiences result in PTSD; diagnosis occurs when
all four symptoms last at least a month. PTSD is a response to chemical changes in the brain and is debilitating, especially without treatment. The military suicide rate is four times higher than deaths occurring during surgeries and is two times higher than civilian suicides. Unfortunately, traditional talk therapy is not meeting the needs of America’s veterans. The National Center for PTSD has made great strides in understanding trauma. The brain and body are both impacted; BOTH need to be engaged during treatment. A “whole body” approach to mental health treatment is being adapted within the Veterans Administration. In 2017, the VA mandated the inclusion of acupuncture, Reiki, reflexology, and other complementary and integrated health practices. This has set forth a paradigm shift that shows vigorous support of alternative practices. Instead of copious prescriptions, the intention is focused on long-term healing, which positively impacts America’s veterans and their families.
Examples of modalities incorporating mind, body, and energetic balance are: Acupuncture, which improves ﬂow of energy. Mental health with horses removes the stigma associated with traditional talk therapy and offers the opportunity for clients to “get out of their head” and engage their entire body. Reiki is a gentle hands-on energy healing that reduces stress, anxiety, and depression. It improves mood, sleep, and relaxation; and when the body is relaxed, it can heal itself from injury, stress, and trauma. Tai Chi, or “meditation in motion” strengthens the mind-body practice of slow, intentional movement as well as deep breathing exercises.
It is our obligation to “Stomp the Stigma Around Mental Health” by creating opportunities for the military to rise above the shackles of trauma. The invisible wounds are not only felt by the inflicted but permeate to family and caregivers. We need to show support for understanding, healing, and allow for a more grounded, stable approach to treatment. w LKN EXPERT
Katie Stankiewicz is the CEO of Willow Equine and the executive director of Soul to Soles Connection. Katie brings the authentic healing power of horses to civilian and military clients through ground-based counseling and personal development. Soul to Sole offers free counseling to all military, Veterans and their families. For more information on services OR to donate, visit www.Willow-Equine.com or www.s2sConnection.org or call 704.237.0644. WRITER