Advertisement

Innovative Programs Support Recovery and Resiliency in Adult and Child Survivors of Mass Disasters

Breath-Based Mind-Body Interventions and Global Platforms
Reference work entry
  • 486 Downloads

Abstract

Mind-body techniques can mitigate the adverse effects of stress and trauma on children and adults during and after mass disasters. Programs such as Breath-Body-Mind, that have effectively reduced symptoms of stress and trauma among children with histories of adverse childhood events in the USA and other countries, can be provided through online platforms, such as Nolimitgen.org, and translated into every language for open access globally. The corona virus pandemic has intensified the urgent need for safe, simple, low-cost methods to quickly and safely reduce the stress and trauma being experienced by individuals, families, and first responders. Healthcare personnel find that they can use these practices to relieve their own stress and to remain alert and clear minded while providing care to patients during long, exhausting work shifts. Understanding the neurophysiological mechanisms that underlie the therapeutic effects of mind-body treatments enables us to design more efficient and effective programs.

Breath-Body-Mind is a brief, evidence-based, polyvagal-informed program of simple movement, breathing, and attentional practices shown to rapidly relieve symptoms of trauma, including anxiety, depression, emotion dysregulation, sleep disturbance, disconnection, distraction, and physical pain. These methods have been shown to significantly improve the recovery and emotional well-being among survivors of the 2001 World Trade Center Attacks, 2004 Southeast Asian Tsunami, 2010 Haiti earthquake, and war, genocide and trafficking in Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, and Nigeria, as well as for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

Evidence-based mind-body group programs should be implemented by healthcare providers, nongovernmental organizations, and government agencies seeking innovative approaches to public health challenges.

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors acknowledge with deep appreciation the courageous work of Somiari Demm, MA/M.Div, CTS, CYT, therapist and advocate for the girls abducted by the Boka Harem. She generously shared her knowledge and experience gained through years of dedicated work with extremely traumatized girls under challenging circumstances. She is an inspiration to us all.

References

  1. Abbott R, Chang DD, Eyre H, Lavretsky H. Mind-body practices Tai Chi and Qigong in the treatment and prevention of psychiatric disorders. In: Gerbarg PL, Brown RP, Muskin PR, editors. Complementary and integrative treatments in psychiatric practice. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association Publishing; 2017. p. 261–79. ISBN: 9781615370313.Google Scholar
  2. Anda RF, Felitti VJ, Bremner JD, Walker JD, Whitfield C, Perry BD, et al. The enduring effects of abuse and related adverse experiences in childhood: a convergence of evidence from neurobiology and epidemiology. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2006;256(3):174–86.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00406-005-0624-4.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Bintlif AV, Stark C, Brown LD, Alonso A. Lifelong wellbeing for survivors of sex trafficking: collaborative perspectives from survivors, researchers, and service providers. Dignity J Sex Exploit Violence. 2018;3(3):1–50.  https://doi.org/10.23860/dignity.2018.03.03.03.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bonaz B, Sinniger V, Pellissier S. Vagus nerve stimulation at the interface of brain-gut interactions. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2019;9(8):a034199.  https://doi.org/10.1101/cshperspect.a034199.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. Brown RP, Gerbarg PL. The healing power of the breath. Simple techniques to reduce stress and anxiety, enhance concentration, and balance your emotions. Boston: Shambhala; 2012a.Google Scholar
  6. Brown RP, Gerbarg PL. Non-drug treatments for ADHD: options for kids, adults, and clinicians. New York: W. W. Norton; 2012b. ISBN: 978-0-393-70622-2Google Scholar
  7. Brown RP, Gerbarg PL. Breathing techniques in psychiatric treatment: stress, anxiety, depression, attention, relationships, trauma and mass disasters. In: Gerbarg PL, Brown RP, Muskin PR, editors. Complementary and integrative treatments in psychiatric practice. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association Publishing; 2017. p. 241–50.Google Scholar
  8. Buchanan R. Human dignity and human rights: thoughts on the principles of human-centered design. Design Issue. 2001;17(3):35–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cannon M, Snyder E. The child status index usage assessment. Chapel Hill: MEASURE Evaluation. 2012. http://www.cpc.unc.edu/measure/publications/SR-12-68
  10. Carter JJ, Gerbarg PL, Brown RP, Ware R. Multi-component yoga breath program for Vietnam veteran posttraumatic stress disorder: randomized controlled trial. Int J Yoga Therapy. 2013;2(3):1–10.Google Scholar
  11. Catani C, Kohiladevy M, Ruf M, Schauer E, Elbert T, Neuner F. Treating children traumatized by war and Tsunami: a comparison between exposure therapy and meditation-relaxation in North-East Sri Lanka. BMC Psychiatry. 2009;9:22.  https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-244X-9-22.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  12. Chilcote RL. Art therapy with child tsunami survivors in Sri lanka. Art Therapy. 2007;24(4):156–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cramer H, Krucoff C, Dobos G. Adverse events associated with yoga: a systematic review of published case reports and case series. PLoS One. 2013;8(10):e75515.  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0075515.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  14. Culver KA, Whetten K, Boyd DL, O’Donnell K. Yoga to reduce trauma-related distress and emotional and behavioral difficulties among children living in orphanages in Haiti: a pilot study. J Altern Complement Med. 2015;21(9):539–45.  https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2015.0017.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Descilo T, Vedamurtachar A, Gerbarg PL, Nagaraja D, Gangadhar BNG, Damodaran B, et al. Effects of a yoga-breath intervention alone and in combination with an exposure therapy for PTSD and depression in survivors of the 2004 Southeast Asia Tsunami. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2010;121(4):289–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dube A, Moffatt M, Davidson C, Bartels S. Health outcomes for children in Haiti since the 2010 earthquake: a systematic review. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2018;33(1):77–88.  https://doi.org/10.1017/S1049023X17007105.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Elliot SB. The new science of the breath. Allen: Coherence Press; 2005. ISBN: 0-9786399-0-1Google Scholar
  18. Elliot S, Edmonson D. The new science of breath. Coherent breathing for autonomic nervous system balance, health, and wellbeing, 2nd edition. Coherence Press; 2010. ISBN: 0978639901.Google Scholar
  19. Fehmi L, Robbins J. The open-focus brain: harnessing the power of attention to heal mind and body. Boston: Trumpeter Books; 2007.Google Scholar
  20. Gauvin L, Rejeski WJ. The exercise-induced feeling inventory: development and initial validation. J Sport Excercise Psychol. 1993;15:403–423.  https://doi.org/10.1123/jsep.15.4.403.
  21. Gerbarg P, Brown R. Mind-body practices for recovery from sexual trauma. In: Bryant-Davis T, editor. A guide to recovery and empowerment. Guilford: Rowman & Littlefield; 2011. p. 199–216.Google Scholar
  22. Gerbarg PL, Brown RP. Yoga and neuronal pathways to enhance stress response, emotion regulation, bonding, and spirituality. In: Horowitz EG, Elgelid S, editors. Yoga therapy: theory and practice. New York: Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group; 2015. p. 49–64. ISBN: 978-1-138-81615-2.Google Scholar
  23. Gerbarg PL, Brown RP. Neurobiology and neurophysiology of breath practices in psychiatric care. Psychiatr Times. 2016;33(11):22–5.Google Scholar
  24. Gerbarg PL, Brown RP. Non-western interventions for stress reduction and resilience. BJPsych Adv. In press.Google Scholar
  25. Gerbarg PL, Wallace G, Brown RP. Mass disasters and mind-body solutions: evidence and field insights. International Journal of Yoga Therapy. 2011;2(21):23–34.Google Scholar
  26. Gerbarg PL, Jacob VE, Stevens L, Bosworth BP, Chabouni F, DeFilippis EM, et al. The effect of breathing, movement, and meditation on psychological and physical symptoms and inflammatory biomarkers in inflammatory bowel disease: a randomized controlled trial. J Inflammatory Bowel Disease. 2015;21(12):2886–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Gerbarg PL, Brown RP, Streeter CC, Katzman M, Vermani M. Breath practices for survivor and caregiver stress, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder: connection, co-regulation, compassion. Open Access OBM Integr Complement Med. 2019;4:3.  https://doi.org/10.21926/obm.icm.1903945.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gordon JS, Staples JK, Blyta A, Bytyqi M, Wilson AT. Treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder in postwar Kosovar adolescents using mind-body skills groups: a randomized controlled trial. J Clin Psychiatry. 2008;69(9):1469–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Gruhn MA, Compas BE. Effects of maltreatment on coping and emotion regulation in childhood and adolescence: a meta-analytic review. Child Abuse Negl. 2020;103:104446.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2020.104446.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Haffner J, Roos J, Goldstein N, Parzer P, Resch F. The effectiveness of body-oriented methods of therapy in the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): results of a controlled pilot study [Zur Wirksamkeit körperorientierter Therapieverfahren bei der Behandlung hyperaktiver Störungen: Ergebnisse einer kontrollierten Pilotstudie]. Z Kinder Jugendpsychiatr Psychother. 2006;34(1):37–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Huynh HV, Limber SP, Gray CL, Thompson MP, Wasonga AI, Vann V, et al. Factors affecting the psychosocial well-being of orphan and separated children in five low- and middle-income countries: which is more important, quality of care or care setting? PLoS One. 2019;14(6):e0218100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Janakiramaiah N, Gangadhar BN, Naga Venkatesha Murthy PJ, Harish MG, Subbakrishna DK, Vedamurthachar A. Antidepressant efficacy of Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY) in melancholia: a randomized comparison with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and imipramine. J Affect Disord. 2000;57(1–3):255–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Katrinli S, Stevens J, Wani AH, Lori A, Kilaru V, van Rooij SJH, et al. Evaluating the impact of trauma and PTSD on epigenetic prediction of lifespan and neural integrity. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2020.  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41386-020-0700-5.
  34. Katzman MA, Vermani M, Gerbarg PL, Brown RP, et al. A multi-component Yoga-based, breath intervention program as adjunctive treatment in patients suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) with or without comorbidities. Int J Yoga. 2012;5(1):57–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kronick R. Mental health of refugees and asylum seekers: assessment and intervention. Can J Psychol. 2018;63:290–6.Google Scholar
  36. Laborde S, Allen MS, Göhring N, Dosseville F. The effect of slow paced breathing (SPB) on stress management (HRV) in intellectually disabled adolescents. J Intellect Disabil Res. 2017;61(6):560–7.  https://doi.org/10.1111/jir.12350.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Matos LC, Sousa CM, Gonçalves M, Gabriel J, Machado J, Greten HJ. Qigong as a traditional vegetative biofeedback therapy: long-term conditioning of physiological mind-body effects. Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:531789.  https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/531789.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  38. McLaughlin KA, Weissman D, Bitrán D. Childhood adversity and neural development: a systematic review. Annu Rev Dev Psychol. 2019;1:277–312.  https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-devpsych-121318-084950.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  39. New York Times. Portraits of dignity: how we photographed ex-captives of Boko Haram. Produced by Allen C, DeBelius D, Furst D, Louttit M, Peterson M, Taylor R. April 11, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/04/11/world/africa/nigeria-boko-haram-girls.html. Viewed 5 Jan 2020
  40. Noble DJ, Hochman S. Hypothesis: pulmonary afferent activity patterns during slow, deep breathing contribute to the neural induction of physiological relaxation. Front Physiol. 2019;10:1176.  https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2019.01176.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  41. Nolan RP, Kamath MV, Floras JS, Stanley J, Pang C, Picton P, Young QR. Heart rate variability biofeedback as a behavioral neurocardiac intervention to enhance vagal heart rate control. Am Heart J. 2005;149(6):1137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Oshri A, Duprey E, Liu S, Ehrlich K. Harsh parenting and youth systemic inflammation. Modulation by the autonomic nervous system. Health Psychol. 2020.  https://doi.org/10.1037/hea0000852.
  43. Porges SW. The polyvagal theory: new insights into adaptive reactions of the autonomic nervous system. Cleve Clin J Med. 2009;76(Suppl 2):S86–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Porges SW. The COVID-19 pandemic is a paradoxical challenge to our nervous system: a Polyvagal perspective. Clin Neuropsychiatry. 2020;17(2):135–8.Google Scholar
  45. Porges SW, Carter CS. Polyvagal theory and the social engagement system. Neurophysiological bridge between connectedness and health. In: Gerbarg PL, Brown RP, Muskin PR, editors. Complementary and Integrative Treatments in Psychiatric Practice. Washington DC: American Psychiatric Association Publishing; 2017. p. 221–40. ISBN: 9781615370313.Google Scholar
  46. Prager EM, Bergstrom HC, Wynn GH, Braga MFM. The basolateral amygdala γ-aminobutyric acidergic system in health and disease. J Neurosci Res. 2016;94(6):548–67.  https://doi.org/10.1002/jnr.23690.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Purgato M, Gross AL, Betancourt T, Bolton P, Bonetto C, Gastaldon C, et al. Focused psychosocial interventions for children in low-resource humanitarian settings: a systematic review and individual participant data meta-analysis. Lancet Glob Health. 2018;6(4):e390–400.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30046-9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Reisz S, Duschinsky R, Siegel DJ. Disorganized attachment and defense: exploring John Bowlby’s unpublished reflections. Attach Hum Dev. 2018;20(2):107–34.  https://doi.org/10.1080/14616734.2017.1380055.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Scherrer JF, Salas J, Norman SB, Schnurr PP, Chard KM, Tuerk P, et al. Association between clinically meaningful posttraumatic stress disorder improvement and risk of Type 2 Diabetes. JAMA Psychiat. 2019;21(76):11.):1159-1166.  https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.2096.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Siegel DJ. The developing mind: toward a neurobiology of interpersonal experience. New York, NY: Guilford Press; 1999. ISBN:  978-1462503902.Google Scholar
  51. Singh N, Telles S, Balkrishna A. Use of yoga in managing posttraumatic stress disorder. In: Gerbarg PL, Brown RP, Muskin PR, editors. Complementary and integrative treatments in psychiatric practice. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association Publishing; 2017. p. 251–60. ISBN: 9781615370313.Google Scholar
  52. Steidle GK. Leading from within consciousness social change and mindful for social innovation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press; 2017. ISBN: 978026 2037198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Streeter CC, Gerbarg PL, Saper MD, Ciraulo DA, Brown RP. Effects of Yoga on the autonomic nervous system, gamma-aminobutyric-acid, and allostasis in epilepsy, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Med Hypotheses. 2012;78(5):571–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Streeter CC, Gerbarg PL, Whitfield TH, Owen L, Johnston J, Silveri MM, et al. Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder with Iyengar Yoga and coherent breathing: a randomized controlled dosing study. Altern Complement Ther. 2017;23(6):236–43.  https://doi.org/10.1089/act.2017.29134.ccs.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  55. Streeter CC, Gerbarg PL, Nielsen GH, Brown RP, Jensen JE, Silveri MM. Effects of yoga on thalamic gamma-aminobutyric acid, and depression: analysis of two randomized controlled trials. Neuropsychiatry (London). 2018;8(3):739–44. p-ISSN 1758-2008 e-ISSN 1758-2016Google Scholar
  56. Streeter CC, Gerbarg PL, Brown RP, Scott TM, Nielsen GH, Owen L, Sakai O, Sneider JT, Nyer MB, Silveri MM. Thalamic gamma aminobutyric acid level changes in Major Depressive Disorder after a 12-week Iyengar Yoga and Coherent Breathing intervention. J Altern Complement Med. 2020;26(3):190–197.  https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2019.0234.
  57. Telles S, Naveen KV, Dash M. Yoga reduces symptoms of distress in tsunami survivors in the Andaman Islands. eCAM. 2007;4(4):503–9.  https://doi.org/10.1093/ecam/nem069.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  58. Telles S, Singh N, Joshi M, Balkrishna A. Post traumatic stress symptoms and heart rate variability in Bihar flood survivors following yoga: a randomized controlled study. BMC Psychiatry. 2010;2(10):18.  https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-244X-10-18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Telles S, Singh N, Balkrishna A. Managing mental health disorders resulting from trauma through yoga: a review. Depress Res Treat. 2012;2012:401513.  https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/401513.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  60. Telles S, Gupta RK, Gandharva K, Vishwakarma B, Kala N, Balkrishna A . Immediate effect of a yoga breathing practice on attention and anxiety in pre-teen children. Children (Basel). 2019;6(7). pii: E84.  https://doi.org/10.3390/children6070084.
  61. Thayer JF, Hansen AL, Saus-Rose E, Johnsen BH. Heart rate variability, prefrontal neural function and cognitive performance: the neurovisceral integration perspective on self-regulation, adaptation, and health. Ann Behav Med. 2009;37:141–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Tsang HW, Fung KM, Chan AS, Lee G, Chan F. Effect of a qigong exercise programme on elderly with depression. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2006;21(9):890–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. van Der Kolk. The body keeps the score: brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma. New York: Viking Press; 2014. ISBN: 9780670785933Google Scholar
  64. van Der Kolk B, Ford JD, Spinazzola J. Comorbidity of developmental trauma disorder (DTD) and post-traumatic stress disorder: findings from the DTD field trial. Eur J Psychotraumatol. 2019;10(1):1562841.  https://doi.org/10.1080/20008198.2018.1562841.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Yoo J-K, Badrov MB, Huang M, Bain RA, Dorn RP, Anderson EH, et al. Abnormal sympathetic neural recruitment patterns and hemodynamic responses to cold pressor test in women with posttraumatic stress disorder. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2020;318(5):H1198–H1207.  https://doi.org/10.1152/ajpheart.00684.2019.
  66. Zaccaro A, Piarulli A, Laurino M, Garbella E, Menicucci D, Neri B, Gemignani A. How breath-control can change your life: a systematic review on psycho-physiological correlates of slow breathing. Front Hum Neurosci. 2018;12:353.  https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2018.00353.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesNew York Medical CollegeValhallaUSA
  2. 2.Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and SurgeonsNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.No Limit GenerationWashingtonUSA
  4. 4.Global GrassrootsPortsmouthUSA

Personalised recommendations