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


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, 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.



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.


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© 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

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