Pentagon Using “New Age” Healing Techniques

Those who scorn the use of new age healing techniques such as
aromatherapy may soon be eating their words as the Pentagon is now
implementing alternative healing therapies and declaring that the
research they have done so far into the subject has “shown promise.” 
For years soldiers traumatized by the events of their combat experience
had to turn to therapy methods that have gone largely unchanged for
decades with a small range of success.  And with the shocking PTSD
statistics of today’s soldiers serving in Iraq, the therapy may be a
boon to those who need it.

Current statistics suggest that up to
35% of soldiers who are serving or who have served in Iraq have Post
Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Of those who have the disease, a
considerable number of them won’t seek psychological help for a number
of reasons.  Some say it would make them appear weak, others suggest it
would give their superiors reason to keep them from promotion, and
still others say the current treatment designed to help soldiers with
PTSD simply does not work.  Whether the current psychological model is
helping or not is a matter of controversy both in the public dialogue
and in official policies that the defense department has implemented. 
It is then with some interest that we now learn that the US Military is
suggesting alternative therapies to help soldiers get past painful
events that happened during their time on active duty.  With an
increase in the amount of time each tour takes, the rate of PTSD has
steadily increased over the past few years.  It currently rivals that
of those who served in the Vietnam War in active duty.

So far
the most effective preventative measure to prevent PTSD in those who
were wounded in combat was to administer a shot of morphine within one
hour of being wounded.  After that point the likelihood of suffering
from the disease as a result of the wound increased significantly.

have an experimental unit,” Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates said at
an assembly of the wives of veterans, “treating soldiers with PTS and
using a number of unorthodox approaches, including aroma therapy,
acupuncture, things like that, that really are getting some serious
results, and so maybe we can throw that into the hopper as well.” 

Traumatic Stress Disorder is a psychological condition that stems (as
its name suggests) from those who survive a traumatic event.  Though it
is most common in soldiers serving on active duty in combat situations,
it also occurs in civilian populations as well.  Those who have been
the victims of violent crimes, for example, sometimes suffer from post
traumatic stress disorder.  It seems secretary of Defense Robert Gates
may have been suggesting that alternative therapies such as
aromatherapy and other practices may eventually be covered by military
insurance.  It is a surprising move that certainly seems out of
character for the military, but perhaps times are changing and so too
must the treatments that help recover the brave men and women serving
in uniform.