Army's New PTSD Treatments: Yoga, Reiki, 'Bioenergy'

Over at Wired's "Danger Room" defense technology blog, Noah Shachtman writes:

The military is scrambling for new ways to treat the traumatic brain injuries and post-trauma stress of troops returning home from war. And every kind of therapy -- no matter how far outside the accepted medical form -- is being considered. The Army just unveiled a $4 million program to investigate everything from "spiritual ministry, transcendental meditation, [and] yoga" to "bioenergies such as Qi gong, Reiki, [and] distant healing" to mend the psyches of wounded troops.
Link. Image: an MRI brain scan, from Flickr user CaptPiper.



  1. I can vouch from personal experience that yoga and meditation are huge helps in getting beyond PTSD.

  2. Hey, Army! Pay me $$$ and I’ll use my remote healing abilities to cure your soldiers of PTSD! Sure, you can’t test my abilities scientifically, but science is so 20th-century. BS FTW!

  3. The army probably doesn’t get enough credit for this kind of thing – my dad learned TM from Buddhist monks in the early 70s as part of an army program.

  4. I’m reminded of a study done in the 90s that analyzed the faint electromagnetic fields that the body naturally creates, and could consistently correlate certain frequencies to the colors seen by multiple aura readers. They had something like 10 different readers, and had them independently “read” individuals. Take with a couple pounds of salt, but I’ve always thought this would be worth more investigation.

    Honestly, I just want a working non-invasive medical device… Ok, I want my tricorder, and I figure this is our best shot. :P

  5. Psssst…


    they’ve had guided meditation, as well as Pilates, in Navy boot camp for recruits on long term medical holds for years.

    I was there, Man.
    I was there.

  6. Just lost my original comment, but here’s the gist of it:
    *The theories listed above require one to relax for them to be effective.
    *Most vets are wound pretty tight. Maybe they think they can’t relax. These treatments force them to.
    *The gov’t. probably finds it easier to study “alternative” methods because they are hip, and maybe less expensive than traditional, y’know, THERAPY – the “duh” treatment.

  7. *The gov’t. probably finds it easier to study “alternative” methods because they are hip, and maybe less expensive than traditional, y’know, THERAPY – the “duh” treatment.

    You’re saying that meditation isn’t a form of therapy? Some people might argue that it’s the most basic, fundamental form of therapy there is. Of course, it’s also one of the hardest.

  8. I have an age old cure which involves not sending children off to become murderers and then not having bombs be dropped on them (this disorder used to be called shell-shock, right?)

    I don’t think the bioenergies would be too effective because they require a large element of faith, but yoga and meditation certainly could help that sort of thing. Unfortunately to attain any sort of lasting quietness you have to own up to all the horrors that you secretly feel guilty about. That might be the biggest problem, that the army thinks emotional problems of this sort can be sorted out easily. They can’t.

  9. How about we get science to investigate spiritual ministry, transcendental meditation, yoga, Qi gong, and distant healing first ?

    I think an even better approach would be biofeedback, you know, the one with actual scientific instruments.

  10. Actual scientific instruments don’t necessarily make science; for example, the Pons and Fleischmann fusion experiment.

    Also, I’ll grant that meditation and putting oneself into a peaceful state of mind probably has the potential to relieve psychological issues such as PTSD. However, any claim which evokes metaphysics that oppose known science (distance healing, claims of a non-metaphorical “chi/ki”, etc.) will receive derision from me.

  11. I wrote an article with meditation techniques specifically for returning soldiers. It can be found at (

    The techniques are based on meditations I learned during a clairvoyant training program. They are great for releasing stress, pain, anger and guilt. Along with some “warrior meditations,” I included “spiritual questions related to war” and suggestions for “getting on with life.”

    To any soldiers reading this, thank you. Please try my meditations, and I hope you will find them helpful. I use them every day.
    Curt Remington

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