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The U.S. military is spending $4 million to figure out whether New Age practices and holistic therapies can mend the wounded psyches of its troops, The Hartford (Conn.) Courant reported Wednesday.

Concerned with the number of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and brain injuries, the government is handing out grants to conduct clinical studies on everything from yoga, to Reiki, to animal-assisted therapy, to transcendental meditation, the paper reported.

The Department of Defense says it "supports the use of alternative therapies if they are proved efficacious," according to its request for proposals, which closed May 15, the Courant wrote.

Practitioners of yoga have touted its benefits to relieve stress and trauma, the paper noted, adding that even servicemembers in Iraq have caught on to the discipline, doing yoga aboard aircraft carriers and on the ground.

A Rand Corp. study found that 19 percent of the approximately 1.6 million U.S. military personnel who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan have symptoms of PTSD, the Courant noted. Matthew Friedman, the executive director of the VA’s National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, told the paper that the government’s desire to find scientific proof that yoga and holistic therapies benefit PTSD sufferers is a positive move.


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