Military (Active Duty and Veterans)
Overview of iRest in the Military
The origins of IRI and iRest are deeply tied to the service and support of the US Military. In 2006, the Department of Defense conducted research at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) on the efficacy of Yoga Nidra (an ancient meditative practice dating back to 2500 B.C.E.). Renamed Integrative Restoration, or iRest for short, the protocol was developed and led by Richard Miller, PhD. The study was conducted with soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Following the study, the Deployment Health Clinical Center (DHCC) at WRAMC integrated the iRest protocol into its weekly treatment program for soldiers. iRest programs were subsequently set up at VA facilities in Florida, Kentucky, Ohio, North Carolina, Washington, DC, Illinois and Tennessee.
iRest is currently supporting active duty, veterans and families of service members in over 30 VA or Military settings across the United States. Please click here for a current list; last updated Aril 2013.
Click here to listen to a free download (short practice) of iRest Yoga Nidra for the military! Click here to watch a YouTube introductory video for the series of 15 meditations that includes this short iRest practice.
About PTSD and iRest
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a severe anxiety disorder with typical treatment being medications and/or psychotherapy. IRI and senior iRest teachers work with those experiencing trauma, their physicians and caregivers to navigate the symptoms of PTSD, and often associated conditions such as phobias, suicidal feelings, mood disorders, insomnia, fatigue, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, all of which can be debilitating.
In working with traumas of the mind, as well as severe traumas in the body, iRest has helped navigate recovery and increase coping skills. iRest is integrative in that it heals the various unresolved issues, traumas, and wounds that are present in the body and mind, and restorative in that it aids the body and mind in returning to a natural state of functioning. iRest fosters freedom from stress and trauma, and helps identify and heal destructive tendencies that otherwise can impede the healing process.
This video clip is part of the TV show "The American Veteran" and was produced by the Department of Veteran Affairs. Featured in the video is one of our senior teachers, Molly Birkholm, teaching iRest at the Miami, Florida VA.
In addition to traditional approaches such as psychotherapy, counseling and case work support, the military healthcare system is embracing evidence-based mind-body modalities including iRest, yoga, meditation, massage and acupuncture to address the burgeoning healthcare needs of military communities.
A growing body of research indicates that mind-body approaches can help people interweave healthy lifestyle practices into their daily lives that help alleviate pain, promote better sleep, increase resiliency, reduce anxiety and teach self-care management into their daily lives at a fraction of the cost of traditional therapies.
Overall CAM (Complementary and Adjunctive Medicine) use in the military (44.5%) is higher than that in comparable civilian surveys (36.0% and 38.3%).
Military personnel reported using three CAM stress-reduction therapies at 2.5–7 times the rate of civilians. Among the military, high utilization of CAM practices that reduce stress may serve as markers for practitioners assessing an individual's health and well-being. (Source: Military Report More complementary and Alternative Medicine Use than Civilians. J Altern Complement Med. 2013 Jan 16. PMID: 23323682)
iRest offers the men and women serving in the Armed Forces and veterans in all walks of civilian life, a simple tool for healing through the variety of symptoms and issues that they are facing while actively serving or after being discharged from the service of our country.
“I am currently the Clinical Director for an Intensive Outpatient Program that treats Wounded Warriors with the invisible wounds of traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder after multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan over the last decade and more. The Warriors are able to regain their grounding and move forward in their recovery and reintegration into continued active duty service or return to the community.”
John Golden, Captain
US Public Health Service (USPHS)
Military Treatment Facility
“I have been doing this yoga nidra now for about 3 years and I have gotten to a point now that I don’t have to take any medication for my blood pressure. And I don’t take anything for sleeping, so it has made a big improvement.”
"Instead of feeling like there is something wrong with us, iRest makes us feel like there is something right with us."
Iraq War Veteran
"I truly believe that iRest helps to save my life every day. It has given me the hope and strength I needed to reconnect myself to the world again.”
Iraq War Veteran (3 deployments)
This video clip is created by Walter Reed Army Medical Center's DHCC (Deployment Health Clinical Center) program for wounded warriors where the initial research was carried out on the effectiveness of Integrative Restoration (iRest Yoga Nidra) with PTSD. Robin Carnes, a certified iRest teacher based in Washington, DC, is featured in the video.