Tai Chi for Veterans
The military teaches its personnel how to survive in combat physically and then return home safely, but can military more proactively help its soldiers cope with stress before and after being in a combat theater? (click or scroll to read more...)
The military teaches its personnel how to survive in combat physically and then return home safely, but can military more proactively help its soldiers cope with stress before and after being in a combat theater? Is there a more holistic approach that looks at a combination of therapies? We, at Dao Concepts, believe so.
BEYOND FIGHT OR FLIGHT, HOW TO APPROPRIATELY DEAL WITH STRESS:
For a soldier, the ability to respond in a stressful environment is the difference between life and death. Unfortunately when soldiers transition back from the combat zones, they now have to live by a different set of standards governed by society vs. rules of engagement. Most can make this transition, but for some that cannot turn the switch off, how do we help them with the following problems:
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Sleep Disorders
- Acute Stress Disorder
- Problems with Alcohol Use
- Chronic Pain
- Depression and Trauma
- Criminal Behavior
The main treatments for the soldiers or veterans is psychotherapy (“talk” therapy), medications, or both. These approaches only work when individual soldiers seek help or have a breakdown requiring treatment.
HOW WE CAN HELP
So how can Dao Concepts assist our soldiers with managing stress? The answer is Tai Chi. Tai Chi masters have categorized the benefits of Tai Chi into three levels.
- Health - An unhealthy or otherwise uncomfortable person may find it difficult to meditate to a state of calmness or to use Tai Chi as a martial art. Tai Chi's health training; therefore, concentrates on relieving the physical effects of stress on the body and mind. For those focused on Tai Chi's martial application, good physical fitness is an important step towards effective self-defense.
- Meditation - The focus and calmness cultivated by the meditative aspect of tai chi is seen as necessary in maintaining optimum health (in the sense of relieving stress and maintaining homeostasis) and in application of the form as a soft style martial art.
- Martial Art - Tai Chi is the study of appropriate change in response to outside forces, the study of yielding and "sticking" to an incoming attack rather than attempting to meet it with opposing force. The beauty of learning Tai Chi is that while physical confrontation is not likely, we are constantly exposed to mental confrontation via our jobs or personal lives. Practicing Tai Chi is an excellent way to promote physical, emotional and mental health. The training is gentle and graceful, and there is no need for special apparatus. It can be performed in limited space environments or outdoors. At the highest level, Tai Chi leads to mind expansion and spiritual fulfillment, irrespective of race, culture and religion without putting emphasis on it.