Veterans learn about meditation for treating post traumatic stress

By: Matt Hoffman Email
By: Matt Hoffman Email

Studies show up to 35 percent of our veterans return home with post traumatic stress disorder. But an old world technique is being used in a new way to help veterans, and some say it's having great success.

Veterans in Eau Claire heard from Jerry Yellin. He fought in World War Two as a fighter pilot, but when he returned home he couldn't escape the horrors of war he experienced.

“I saw the remnants of 28,000 bodies on 8 square miles of land. 90, 000 soldiers were fighting. 28,000 were killed, and I flew with 16 guys that didn't come back," recalls Jerry.

But unlike during today’s wars, when Jerry returned home there was no known condition for post traumatic stress disorder or now called PTS.

Jerry explains, "I just didn't know who I was or what I was for 30 years until 1975 when I learned to meditate. I learned transcendental meditation," and it was the topic of tonight's presentation from Operation Warrior Wellness. Several local veterans came out to hear about the therapy from the non-profit program. It's aimed at helping veterans of all ages and from all wars learn this technique. Organizers say it isn't a religious practice but just allows the mind and body to settle down. Jerry compares it to athletes getting into the zone.

“It's a unique rest. It's not like a nap. It's a state of restful alertness, a fourth major state of consciousness, and the restful alertness allows really deep rooted fatigue and stress and anxiety to naturally release from the nervous system," explains Billie Jean Billman who works with Operation Warrior Wellness.

"Stress causes anxiety and anger and violent behavior and transcendental meditation removes stress," says Jerry. He says it's been amazing with vets seeing significant reductions in PTS along with needing less medications and therapy.

"We just want to educate people that there is an alternative. There is hope. There's a way to deal with PTS that is dignified and that is effective and that will allow them not to suffer," said Billman.

Operation Warrior Wellness and its partners are collecting donations to help veterans get the training, which normally costs 750 dollars. For more information on meditation and what’s all involved you can visit their site below. You can also email Jerry who says he’d be happy to provide more information and refer vets to other vets who have used meditation. He can be reached at

More information on Operation Warrior Wellness and Meditation

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  • by Michael Location: St. Paul on Sep 24, 2011 at 10:56 AM
    Too bad my father didn't have this when he came back form WWII. Maybe it's not too late. I'll bring this to his attention. Thanks for keeping us informed.
  • by Louise Location: Menomonie on Sep 17, 2011 at 10:48 AM
    Awesome that this info is finding it's way to the Chippewa Valley. For me TM has been a great tool for stress reduction and has helped with my own PTSD symptoms.
  • by Luke Location: Bozeman on Sep 17, 2011 at 06:26 AM
    The vets should have whatever they need. If this is helping them we should make it available. The stress of war is like nothing else. It can ruin your life. Let the men and women have this meditation and anything else they need.
    • reply
      by Louise on Sep 19, 2011 at 07:01 AM in reply to Luke
      well said Luke!!
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