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Veterans Issues Author: Staff Editor Last Updated: Sep 7, 2017 - 10:06:33 PM

How Meditation is Helping Veterans Heal

By Staff Editor
Jul 28, 2016 - 12:46:21 PM

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( - BLUEMONT, Virginia - (July 28, 2016) - As the number of veterans diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, and other related conditions continues to rise, many are finding relief in a surprising way. These veterans are closing their eyes and silently thinking a simple sound known as a mantra. Much to their surprise, but not to the teachers who introduced them to it, they are finding the practice is helping to essentially give them their lives back. This process, called Transcendental Meditation (TM), is scientifically proven to offer a host of benefits for those who engage in the practice regularly.

"We believe in the power of Transcendental Meditation, which is why it is an important part of our Warrior PATHH program," explains Dusty Baxley, executive director of the Boulder Crest Retreat and a certified TM teacher and practitioner. "By empowering combat veterans with this very simple technique, they are able to find relief from the challenges that prevent them from coming all the way home."

According to the Mayo Clinic, TM is a simple, natural technique, that allows your body to settle into a state of profound rest and relaxation, and allows your mind to achieve a state of peace. It's a non-religious practice that was brought to America in the 1960s by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, after thousands of years of use in the East. The origin story of TM is in fact about a Warrior, who was given the gift of meditation to help him ease the burdens associated with what had to be done on the battlefield.

TM is practiced twice a day for 20 minutes, sitting comfortably and with eyes closed. The process involves the silent repetition of a mantra, which allows the mind to transcend to a place of peace, charm and consciousness.

There are hundreds of peer-reviewed studies that tout the benefits of TM, which include:

  • greater inner calm throughout the day
  • reduced cortisol (the "stress hormone")
  • normalized blood pressure
  • reduced insomnia
  • lower risk of heart attack and stroke
  • reduced anxiety and depression
  • improved brain function and memory

In the January 2016 journal of Military Medicine, the authors reported that regularly participating in TM decreased the need for psychotropic medications for those with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and that TM increased psychological well being. This study echoes the many studies that preceded it and demonstrates that TM is a beneficial option for military members and veterans.

TM serves as a cornerstone of Boulder Crest Retreat's breakthrough Warrior PATHH program, which allows combat veterans to transform times of deep struggle into profound strength and growth - and is based on the concept of Post Traumatic Growth. Warrior PATHH utilizes a range of age-old, evidence-based and Warrior specific practices, including TM, labyrinth walks, archery, kayaking, horticulture, music, art, bonfires and brotherhood / sisterhood. Warrior PATHH is designed and delivered by combat veterans for combat veterans, and Baxley - Boulder Crest Retreat's Executive Director and a trained TM teacher - reflects the multi-faceted expertise possessed by each Warrior PATHH Guide.

Boulder Crest Retreat delivers TM in its PATHH programs through a partnership with the David Lynch Foundation, an organization dedicated to teaching TM to children and veterans. Boulder Crest Retreat is the first veteran-focused retreat licensed to deliver TM to its participants.

"The David Lynch Foundation is proud to support the breakthrough work taking place at Boulder Crest Retreat, which serves as an ideal setting to provide these brave men and women with a lifelong practice," said Bob Roth, chief executive officer of the David Lynch Foundation. "TM provides combat veterans with the calm and peace they deserve, so they can live great lives at home."

"As a combat veteran myself, I know what it is like to be on both sides of feeling down and filled with anxiety and being able to find peace and calm," added Baxley. "Transcendental Meditation is life changing, especially for combat veterans, and I'm grateful that the David Lynch Foundation generously provides us with scholarships."

Baxley, along with a fellow veteran and TM teacher, offers personal instruction to all Warrior PATHH attendees, who find it helps eliminate symptoms of PTSD, brings them closer to themselves, and can be used anywhere, anytime.

Paul Downs, a Warrior PATHH graduate and regular TM practitioner noted that "TM gives me a centering, calming focal point amongst the chaotic pull of the everyday struggle." Downs continued, "Thoughts that were bound become unbound. Emotions that were unclear become clear; plans that weren't grounded become grounded."

Transcendental Meditation is centuries old, but many people are just learning about it. There are numerous celebrities who regularly practice it, including Ellen DeGeneres, Jerry Seinfeld, Oprah Winfrey, Hugh Jackman, Russell Brand, Clint Eastwood, Katy Perry, Paul McCartney, and Mick Jagger. Meditation is just one aspect of Boulder Crest Retreat's Warrior PATHH program. Warrior PATHH is a program that focuses on the concepts of posttraumatic growth also includes training and education in a variety of wellness regulation practices centered around mind, body, financial, and spiritual wellness. View a video about Warrior PATHH here:


Boulder Crest Retreat for Military and Veteran Wellness is a rural sanctuary that provides free accommodations, recreational and therapeutic activities and programs to help our nation's military and veteran personnel and their families recover and reconnect during their long journey of healing from physical and invisible wounds of war. The 37-acre retreat is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Bluemont, Virginia, just 50 miles west of Washington, D.C. The Retreat is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and is entirely funded through private donations from individuals, foundations and corporations. For more information about Boulder Crest Retreat, please visit


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