Our world is experiencing a cascade of natural and man-made disasters - floods, earthquakes, wars, terrorism, oil spills - that leave physical, mental, emotional and economic wounds. Most relief efforts focus resources on ensuring physical survival by providing rescue, food, water, shelter and medical care. The emotional needs of disaster survivors exist as well, surfacing days or even years later.

High levels of poor mental health affect the ability of communities to function, recover and move towards reconciliation. Mind-body practices offer an effective alternative response to mental health needs in the aftermath of a disaster. This is an important consideration, given that the psychological effects of mass disasters can last for years and be transmitted to subsequent generations. Mind-Body practices offer effective, low-cost, low-risk solutions for relief of emotional and psychological distress in survivors of mass disasters. As safe, simple, adaptable and cost-effective interventions, mind-body techniques support individual and community-wide wellness, essential for healing and reconstruction post-disaster.

Treatment for the psychological consequences of mass disasters is essential to the recovery of individuals and communities. Little is known about how to provide effective mental health interventions when there are thousands of victims and little, if any, access to care. Post-disaster research and program evaluations suggest that mind-body practices can provide significant relief of anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress and physical ailments.

International Journal of Yoga Therapy, No. 21 (2011)
Yoga Therapy in Practice
Mass Disasters and Mind-Body Solutions: Evidence and Field Insights

Patricia L Gerbarg, MD, 1 Gretchen Wallace, 2 Richard P. Brown, MD 3

1 New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY; 2 Global Grassroots, Hanover, NH; 3 Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY

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Mind-body practices can be highly effective in reducing symptoms of PTSD in military personnel, survivors of war and other mass disasters, and victims of abuse. These practices can be used to develop greater stress resilience. Complementary and alternative treatments...may be more acceptable to veterans because they do not involve formal psychiatric diagnoses and are not associated with psychiatric treatments.

In conditions of mass disaster...the psychological needs must also be addressed to relieve immediate suffering and to prevent long-term sequellae such as chronic PTSD with severe psychological distress and impairment in interpersonal relationships and employment.

How to Use Herbs, Nutrients & Yoga in Mental Health
Richard P Brown, MD; Patricia L. Gerbarg, MD; Philip R. Muskin, MD
W. W. Norton & Company, 2009

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Serving Those Who Serve, Inc. (STWS)

STWS is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the health and well-being of people affected by September 11, Hurricane Sandy, the BP oil spill in the Gulf, as well as many active armed forces personnel and veterans. Those who served struggle with multiple health issues as a result of exposure to severe stress, environmental toxin, man-made or natural disaster. The consequences of their selfless service has affected their health, lifestyle, families and future.

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Monthly Workshop Follow-Ups with Dr. Richard Brown

Balance Arts Center
34 W. 28th St., 3rd Floor (Betwn 6th & Broadway. Close to 28th St. R and N station or 5-minute walk from 28th St. stations on both the 1 and 6 trains)

Follow-up Schedule:

June - December 2014
Wednesday, June 4th, 7:30-8:30PM
Monday, July 7th, 7:30-8:30PM
Tuesday, August 5th, 7:30-8:30PM
Wednesday, September 3th, 7:30-8:30PM
Wednesday, October 1st, 7:30-8:30PM
Monday, November 3rd, 7:30-8:30PM
Tuesday, December 2nd, 7:30-8:30PM

"This is a great opportunity (for graduates of Dr. Brown’s workshops) to come together again with Dr. Brown to strengthen our practice of the breathing techniques and movement that he teaches and to ask any questions we may have pertaining to our practice and/or health issues."

Many of the participants of the follow-up programs have shared with us how beneficial they are.

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Mind-Body Program for Disaster Relief

Dr. Patricia Gerbarg describes necessary components for creating an ideal Mind-Body program for disaster relief.

Dr. Patricia Gerbarg Mind-Body Healing For Disaster Relief
October 31, 2012

Dr. Patricia Gerbarg defines trauma and its consequences. She describes the power of simple breathing techniques, as complementary therapies to balance the autonomic nervous system, re-establish energy levels and a foster peaceful mind.

STWS Workshop - Dr. Richard Brown

Dr. Richard Brown conducts a B-B-M course at STWS

South Sudanese Survivors of War and Slavery Learn Breath-Body-Mind for Self-Healing

Dr. Richard Brown traveled to a remote clinic in South Sudan during the week prior to its declaration of independence from the North. Tens of thousands of South Sudan’s people are still being held captive in North Sudan where they are tortured and used as slaves. Many have been kept as slaves for over ten years. Their freedom is purchased in exchange for cow vaccine. Dr. Brown provided stress and trauma relief using Breath~Body~Mind practices for 600 newly liberated slaves. Within fifteen minutes, their grim, frozen faces transformed as the Sudanese began smiling, laughing, and eventually dancing. One group of 19 South Sudanese women have become Breath-Body-Mind teachers for the surrounding villages and the local orphanage.

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