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Improving the Health of Veterans Though Moving Meditation Practices: A Mixed-Methods Pilot Study

Authors:

Shannon Munro ,

Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, US
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Matthew Komelski,

Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, US
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Brian Lutgens,

Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, US
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Julian Lagoy,

Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, US
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Mark Detweiler

Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, US
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Abstract

This study explores the use of low-to-moderate intensity mindfulness-based exercises (“moving meditation”) to improve Veteran physical activity level and physiological health and psychological well-being including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomology. 12-week, pre- and post-test intervention, mixed methods pilot. Setting/Subjects: Veterans with a history of posttraumatic stress disorder receiving care at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Salem, Virginia. All Veterans participated in bi-weekly classroom instruction prior to a 6-10 minute warm up period of Qigong exercises, followed by a 30 minute period of Taijiquan/Qigong or mindful-meditative walking, followed by a 6-10 minute cool down period of light movement. Overall physical activity was measured for a one-week period before and after the 12-week intervention period with an Actigraph accelerometer. Physiological health indices were measured pre- and post- 12-week intervention, including salivary cortisol, Hgb A1C, fasting glucose, gonadal panel (FSH, LH, testosterone), albumin, hs-CRP, and sex hormone-binding globulin. Veterans’ mental well-being was measured by the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale, the PTSD Checklist (PCL-C), the Cohen Perceived Stress scale, and the Beck Anxiety Inventory. Participants reported increased frequency and enjoyment of physical activity; improvement in Hgb A1C; improvement in balance and movement awareness; improvement in emotional regulation and focus; and reported reduced depression, stress and anxiety, and PTSD symptoms that benefitted social interactions. Moving meditation as part of a multifaceted treatment approach may increase physical activity, improve physiological health, and enhance mental well-being, particularly with respect to PTSD.
How to Cite: Munro, S., Komelski, M., Lutgens, B., Lagoy, J. and Detweiler, M., 2019. Improving the Health of Veterans Though Moving Meditation Practices: A Mixed-Methods Pilot Study. Journal of Veterans Studies, 5(1), pp.16–23. DOI: http://doi.org/10.21061/jvs.v5i1.128
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Published on 21 Oct 2019.
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