It is probable that most if not all veterans returning from conflict experience some form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This can vary from mild to extreme. Subjective experience in training veterans has shown that training in Shou' Shu' can be very therapeutic for PTSD. Evidence also suggests that mind body therapies are effective     treatments.
Everyone can realize tremendous benefits from martial arts training but these benefits are even more pronounced in those dealing with stress. We've seen a number of veterans drastically improve their lives through training over the years. There are many reasons martial arts are beneficial in the treatment of stress disorders but the main one is the total absorption in the activity. The motions of Shou' Shu' are complex. Although they are fun to learn they completely involve the mind and the body. The student is completely involved in body awareness and focusing on the lesson. There simply is no room for stress.
This may be extremely counter intuitive for many. Shou' Shu' is an aggressive self defense art. However time and time again it has been shown to reduce aggressiveness in many individuals. If taught properly in a positive atmosphere it can have incredible results.
Stress is a primal biological response to what is usually a non biological threat. The stress response served us well in the past when there was a tiger hunting us but in today's world it is not always the best response. Shou' Shu' training puts us mentally into the situation that calls for a biological self defense response. We develop our visualization skills and put ourselves there. We then handle the situation and defend ourselves. The threat is taken care of. Because the subconscious does not realize the difference between imagination and reality this imagined response satisfies it and it relieves us of our stress.
Students typically leave the school feeling energized and stress free. This is a welcome mental break for anyone suffering from cyclical negative thought patterns. Simply being able to be free of those mental patterns for a while often helps in ridding oneself of those patterns. This phenomena has been noticed by martial arts teachers for years.
Training in a safe and welcoming environment can be very helpful in assimilating back into society and the training itself is a nice great outlet for stress.
You can help us provide training for soldiers suffering from PTSD by Donating to the Sheng Chi Foundation
Because of the large need we are now offering virtual classrooms for soldiers with PTSD and/or depression. We can partner with local organizations in your area to provide our programs. If you are interested in helping to coordinate a program in your area please contact us
- . Outcome evaluation of the veterans affairs salt lake city integrative health clinic for chronic pain and stress-related depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.). 2010 ;16(8):823-35.
- . Hurricanes, stress, and mindfulness. Explore (New York, N.Y.). 2009 ;5(1):10-1.
- . Treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder in postwar Kosovar adolescents using mind-body skills groups: a randomized controlled trial. The Journal of clinical psychiatry. 2008 ;69(9):1469-76.
- . Mindfulness meditation for veterans---implications for occupational health providers. AAOHN journal : official journal of the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses. 2008 ;56(8):357-63.
- . Mindful awareness in body-oriented therapy for female veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder taking prescription analgesics for chronic pain: a feasibility study. Alternative therapies in health and medicine. 2007 ;13(6):32-40.