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Researchers discover ways of integrating treatment of traumatized Tibetan refugee monks
Date:3/12/2009

traditional therapeutic approaches," explains Michael Grodin, MD, professor of health law, bioethics and human rights at Boston University School of Public Health, and professor of psychiatry, sociomedical sciences and community medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. "The difference between Tibetan and Western disease pathologies represents the need for evidence-based complementary therapies, such as the Tibetan monks in exile and other religious refugee populations," said Grodin.

Tibetan Buddhist tradition dictates that the cure for suffering is enlightenment, attainable through meditation. When this occurs, the body is freed from anxieties and fears. The monks who were treated for PTSD and srog-rLung are finding that meditation, once second nature, has become difficult after nights filled with flashbacks that put the monks in a state of hyper-vigilance for the next day.

According to the researchers, in order to provide complimentary therapy for the monks, eastern and western medicine needed to be integrated to properly address both conditions. The spiritual aspect of the Tibetan medical model, which is at the core of the monks' experience of illness, guided this research. Ancient Tibetan Bon tradition of yogic practice was used to induce the mind into a relaxed state necessary to purify oneself through motion. This yogic practice combines movement of the body and controlled breath with movements of the mind to bring mental stability and offers an alternative to the monks' inability to eliminate invasive thoughts. Another therapy that was used is singing bowl therapya form of music therapy, as sound has a direct connection to the heart, which aligns with srog-rLung experienced by the monks.

Grodin said the refugee health center at BMC integrated techniques of western medicine, such as anti-depressant prescribing and psychotherapy, with Tibetan healing practices, including medicines prescribed by Tibetan Amchi, meditation advice
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Contact: Allison Rubin
allison.rubin@bmc.org
617-638-8491
Boston University
Source:Eurekalert

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