Tag Archives: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Peace Through Music Helps Local Vets

Dudley Evenson dogtags

Recently I was invited to do a presentation for veterans at the Bellingham Vet Center. Several years ago, Dean and I had visited there and dropped off some of our music and videos and it turns out they had been showing our Eagle River DVD at their gatherings and potlucks where people really enjoyed the relaxation effect of the images of nature and the peaceful music. Eagle River was actually created after our first visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, DC where we did a presentation on music and healing to the patients, many of whom were wounded in combat or suffering from PTSD . We received feedback from the commanding officers that they really needed that video of eagles and nature along the Nooksack River as it would help people dealing with their flashbacks and nightmares from the trauma related to their combat experiences. PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which is what many people suffer after extreme combat situations.
Walter Reed dog tags 2These are the dog tags the chaplain at Walter Reed gave us when we visited there a few years ago.

I was pleasantly surprised when I got a call a few weeks ago requesting a presentation about music for one of the local PTSD men’s groups.  I wasn’t sure what to expect but found a group of older Viet Nam era vets as well as some younger ones from more recent wars who were ready to work on dealing with their issues. As the leader said later, the men appreciated being able to step out of their comfort zone. I actually had them breathing, toning, singing a mantra and doing ‘I am’ affirmations. I also shared the RELAXATION TRAINING GUIDE we created for Walter Reed so they would have an overview of how to use music in their process.

Then a few weeks later I was invited back to work with a group of women dealing with PTSD, either as veterans themselves, or because of being married to a veteran who was suffering form PTSD. I found this group of women very open to what I was teaching them and much more able to express themselves through the singing, toning and affirmations I had them doing. It is interesting to me that what I am actually teaching these military folks is based on the yoga of sound and it really seems to work. The women want me to come back and go deeper into the process so I am excited to be able to share what Dean Evenson and I have been learning and teaching all these years about the healing power of sound and music, meditation and self-expression.

Here’s a link to the Eagle River DVD and also to Healing Sanctuary, an album we created after 911 to help people deal with trauma. Both of these were among several of our albums used at Walter Reed and given out by the chaplain there to the wounded.

Please add your thoughts about this important issue and especially if you have or know of anyone dealing with PTSD and I will send a free mp3 healing music track to those who comment.

Peace Through Music Supports Wounded Warriors

by Dudley Evenson
WalterReedGrpInspite of our life long aversion to war, my husband, Dean Evenson and I have found a way we can “support the troops” while still remaining true to our core values.  Since so many people coming back from battle are suffering from extreme physical and emotional wounds, we were looking for a way to really put our Peace Through Music mission to work.  Since 1979, we have been producing music for healing and yoga and the popularity of our music with healthcare practitioners and everyday people made us realize it could possibly be of benefit to soldiers returning from combat and suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

We decided to reach out to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, often the first stateside landing hospital for wounded soldiers returning from war.  When we contacted the head chaplain there, Major John Kallerson, we found that he had already used some of Dean Evenson’s CDs in his own healing.  Once he realized that he had personally experienced the benefits of Dean’s music, he was enthusiastic about making it available for his patients and began to include it in the Wounded Warrior Kit given out at the hospital.

Chaplain Kallerson told us “The music helps our patients focus on their healing and not the chronic pain they endure constantly. The soothing music of Healing Sanctuary and Healing Dreams provides a needed respite from the dreams and flashbacks of the terrors that our wounded have seen and experienced.  It is helpful for them to relax and not dwell on the bad dreams or images that they can see… Some find them very helpful to get to sleep.”

Inspired by this feedback, we began to research the effects of war and the stress disorders that often plague veterans of violent conflict and learned that music can offer an antidote to some of the emotional traumas experienced.  We put together a Relaxation Basic Training Guide to help returning soldiers in their healing process.  Couched in military terms, the booklet presented concepts of Nada Yoga or the Yoga of Sound and shared many techniques that are actually ancient yogic practices incorporating breath, muscle relaxation, meditation and mantra.

During two separate visits, we performed our peaceful music of flute and harp interspersed with teachings about relaxation and sound healing.  Looking back on the content of our offering to these wounded troops and medical professionals, we realized we were actually sharing the basics of yoga and meditation.  Although we didn’t demonstrate any postures, the foundation of the information we offered was yoga.  From breathing demonstrations to relaxation to affirmations and mantra, we were able to educate these service people about this ancient practice.  Hopefully our story will inspire people to reach out in their own communities to offer yoga, music, massage and other healing modalities to veterans who are in such desperate need of healing.  The benefit is for the veterans, their families, and the community at large.  It’s never too late to plant seeds of peace.

Click here to Download Relaxation Basic Training Manual

These are the CDs they have used at Walter Reed – Sound Healing, Healing Waters, Healing Sanctuary, Healing Dreams, Ocean Dreams, Eagle River, Eagle River DVD. Click here for Memorial Day Sale