The wife of a Marine deployed to Iraq never thought she was the type that could marry a Marine, but she did. Although there have been hardships, thanks in part to HeartMath the two have held up well the first three years of their marriage – Jolene at base housing in North Carolina and Daniel in Iraq.
The pair, who received funding through the Institute of HeartMath Military Service Appreciation Fund, learned to do heart-breathing and use the emWave Personal Stress Reliever®. She has had excellent success, and he took to the emWave PSR instantly. Jolene said she and Daniel – their last names are being withheld because of privacy concerns – experienced marked results, especially with sleeping habits and the ability to calm themselves and relax.
Asked in a February interview whether her husband takes the emWave PSR with him in the field, Jolene said, "Oh yeah. I told him, ‘I don’t care if you have to hide that. You take that with you.’ Because – how much it worked for him – I felt like that was just as important as his gun."
HeartMath is making a difference in the lives of many service members and their families, before, during and post-deployment as well as with veterans years after their service. Learn more.
Serving in dangerous theaters like Afghanistan naturally can be highly stressful and cause great anxiety, but for many men and women, it can be highly traumatic and lead to long-term problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, substance abuse and other harmful conditions. Service members who are able to learn how to build stress tolerance and resilience are much less likely to suffer lasting effects.
The nonprofit Institute of HeartMath is committed to meeting the needs of active-duty servicemen and women. IHM Director of Research Dr. Rollin McCraty explained that IHM’s mission is about serving humanity by providing practical and scientifically based tools and interventions proven to prevent and reverse the negative effects of stress, regardless whether it is a service member, at-risk student or police officer who has a need.
"The HeartMath System is designed to help preserve and increase the quality of life for all individuals," McCraty said.
HeartMath training and technology have proven to be highly effective at improving cognitive functions such as focus and attention, memory and decision-making and reducing symptoms of operational stress such as sleep disturbance, fatigue and overreactivity.
Capt. Lori A. Laraway, Manager of the Operational Stress Control program for the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command recently commented: "The Navy supports Coherence Advantage training because it provides tangible tools and skills that can and have improved individual functioning, because at the end of the day, that’s what really matters: Better-functioning Sailors means more effective and successful missions." Learn more.
Besides being utilized by all four branches of the military, including Special Forces units, as well as the Air and Army National Guard, HeartMath programs and technology are benefiting police officers, firefighters and Olympic and professional athletes. Learn about HeartMath’s Coherence Advantage™ training program for active-duty service members to increase coherence, the psychophysiological state of optimal performance. A special version of this program also is available for Military Leaders.
Military families like the couple mentioned above have unique challenges and concerns that can arise because of a family member’s service. The absence of a spouse, parent, son or daughter, can place tremendous stress, emotional pressure and other strains, including financial, on the rest of the family.
To help military families bring more balance and ease into their lives, HeartMath has created the De-Stress Workshop for Military Families. Family members learn skills for de-stressing and building more resilience. These skills help to improve communication and relationships and increase support of loved ones during deployment and reintegration.
Stress reactions, McCraty explains in this illustration, can be likened to the tree at left: The service member, like the tree, will bend and bend, without breaking. Stress reactions, like the windstorm stressing this tree, are usually temporary, but a windstorm that persists for days or longer can break the tree, not because the tree is weak, but because the stress is too great.
The break can be healed if it receives prompt care, McCraty notes, but a scar may be left in its wake. Physical injuries such as the break in the tree are visible, but the injury and illness stress can cause are largely invisible.
The service member’s road back to a normal life can be painful and requires caring and compassion from family and friends. HeartMath’s De-Stress Workshop for Veterans provides assistance in learning how to better regulate stress-related symptoms and reintegration challenges.
In this nonclinical workshop, veterans begin increasing their focus and becoming aware of ways to manage nervous feelings and create more inner security. Equipped with improved personal readiness and greater emotional balance, they are strengthened to meet the demands of the military-to-civilian transition process.
The De-Stress Workshop teaches researched-based self-regulation techniques for dealing with a host of predictable reintegration stressors such as frustration, impatience, anger and worry, and helps veterans respond with greater mental focus and emotional balance. Learn more.
Free Resources for Veterans, Service Members and Their Families are available in a special section on our website. Among the many materials included within these pages are free resources for adults and their children that include energy, resilience and coherence-building tools and techniques, lots of informative articles and easily downloadable MP4 webinar broadcasts as well as MP3 audio files.
Also available, at no charge, for veterans, service members and their spouses is the HeartMath Education And Resilience Training (H.E.A.R.T.) DVD. This training DVD incorporates research-based self-regulation techniques and technologies that promote sustainable stress tolerance and resilience. The primary objective is to provide an understanding of the tools to increase personal resilience and the ability to self-regulate and manage personal energy and emotions.
The Military Service Appreciation Fund is a Caring Initiative established by the Institute of HeartMath to assist active-duty military personnel and veterans who have experienced stress, trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder and other stress-related conditions as well as traumatic brain injury. If you are on active duty, a veteran or family member of a service member, learn about applying for a grant or sponsorship from this fund.
Download the Military Service Appreciation Brochure
The Institute of HeartMath has applied its research on the physiology of optimal performance, heart-rate variability (HRV) coherence and resilience to the development of evidence-based tools and technologies that can be used by health-care professionals for treating symptoms of trauma, PTSD and other stress-related conditions and traumatic brain injury.
IHM sister company HeartMath LLC is training health-care professionals to utilize these tools and technologies, and today they are in use at numerous military facilities, veterans medical centers, PTSD clinics, substance-abuse and behavioral-health programs.
You can read an abstract of the soon-to-be published study, Improving Cognition in Recently Returned Combat Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder by Heart-Rate Variability Coherence Biofeedback. Among the findings are that "Heart-rate variability coherence feedback is a promising method for improving deployment-related problems in attention and immediate memory in combat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder."