A multi-component mind-body program, Breath-Body-Mind (BBM), includes simple practices, primarily Voluntarily Regulated Breathing Practices (VRBPs) with coordinated movements, derived from yoga, qigong, martial arts, meditation, and modern neuroscience. Easily learned for relief of stress, anxiety, depression and PTSD, they can be modified for different settings--private offices, clinics, hospitals, groups, schools, military bases, and disaster sites.
We present developments in understanding how VRBPs rapidly improve sympatho-vagal balance, emotion regulation, and symptom resolution in a wide variety of disorders and patient populations. The evolving neurophysiological theory incorporates concepts of Polyvagal Theory (Stephen Porges), interoception, interactions between the autonomic nervous system, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) pathways, emotion regulatory circuits, neuroendocrine response, and social engagement networks. Polyvagal theory asserts that physiological states characterized by increased vagal influence on heart rate variability (HRV) support social engagement and bonding and inhibit defensive limbic activity. A specific feature of trauma-related disorders--disconnection, disruption of bonding--will be explored.
Dr. Gerbarg will briefly update research evidence that specific VRBPs in combination with other practices resulted in significant rapid improvements in psychological and physical symptoms in studies of GAD, veterans with PTSD, healthcare providers, bowel disease and survivors of mass disasters: 2004 Southeast Asian Tsunami, 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, Gulf Horizon oil spill, and war and slavery in Sudan. Dr. Gerbarg will review the Chemung County Project where an economically disadvantaged community is developing successful Breath-Body-Mind programs for children in schools, after school programs, and mental health facilities. Preliminary data from a mass resonance spectroscopy study of effects on brain GABA levels in patients with depression will be presented.
Dr. Brown guides participants through rounds of movement with VRBPs: Coherent Breathing, 4-4-6-2, Breath Moving, "Ha," and Open Focus Meditation. The gentle movements can be done standing or sitting, and are suitable for adults and children. Awareness and mindfulness of breath and changes in mental and physical states is cultivated. Attendees enhance learning by participation in group processes.
CLINICAL CASES PTSD
Dr. Gerbarg covers clinical issues, indications, contraindications, risks, benefits, and guidelines for augmenting psychotherapy with VRBPs. Cases illustrate restoration of connectedness/bonding through VRBPs that shift the individual from states of fear and immobilization to states of safety and bonding. Cases include a victim of sexual abuse, a former US Air Force U2 pilot, and a second generation Holocaust survivor, and a healthcare worker in Sudan.
Patricia L. Gerbarg, MD, Assistant Professor in Clinical Psychiatry, New York medical College
and Richard P. Brown, MD, Associate Clinical Professor in Psychiatry Columbia University College of Medicine, NY.
6 CE Contact Hours
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