Majority of the soldiers after returning from long wars start suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A recent Jsonline.com report cites one such case of a US soldier, Rich Low, who was an officer in charge of an Army infantry platoon .
Even after returning home from the war, the memories about Iraq continued to haunt him. About six months after his deployment in Iraq in 2005 , he was driving at night when a sudden burst of lightning snapped him back to Baghdad and the bomb that exploded near him during a thunderstorm. Low's pulse raced as adrenaline surged through his body even though he was driving on a road far from any war zone.
He didn't know he was suffering from PTSD. Not until he took part in a University of Wisconsin-Madison study that taught Iraq and Afghanistan veterans yoga, meditation and breathing techniques to cope with PTSD .
This week, another group of veterans is at UW's Center for Investigating Healthy Minds learning meditation, deep breathing and Sudarshan Kriya Yoga techniques. Before the 10 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans started the week-long course this week, they underwent MRIs, which will be followed by another brain scan after the class is done.
The aim is to see if meditation, yoga and deep breathing can help veterans with PTSD .
Researchers are looking for cures to brain ailments such as Alzheimer's, epilepsy and various forms of physically-inflicted brain trauma.
Low has said the meditation and deep breathing helped him recover from the stress of combat. "I didn't notice a change right away (after the study) but my dad did," said Low.
PTSD is a growing problem as veterans from two long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan return home to face emotional demons. An estimated 20 percent of the 2 million Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress. And suicide rates among male post 9/11 veterans are much higher than the rest of the US population.
McBride, who served two tours of Iraq in the Army Reserves said the Russian army has researched yoga, so this is not some newfangled idea.