Overview of iRest in the Military
The origins of iRest are deeply tied to the service and support of military service members and veterans. As early as 2006, the U.S. Department of Defense conducted research at Walter Reed Army Medical Center on the efficacy of iRest, an adapted form of Yoga Nidra developed by Richard Miller, PhD, to help service members returning from the Global War on Terror better manage symptoms of post-traumatic stress. Since this hallmark study, numerous service members, their families, and veterans have benefited from the practice of iRest. iRest Meditation has historically been endorsed by the U.S. Army Surgeon General and recognized by the Defense Centers of Excellence For Psychological Health & Traumatic Brain Injury as a form of complementary and alternative medicine.
iRest is currently being taught and shared in several military and veteran settings, such as through the Veteran’s Health Administration’s Whole Health Program, community based Vet Centers, Deployment and Reintegration Yellow Ribbon Programs, military medical treatment facilities, private studios offering programs for military and veterans, as part of varied programs on U.S. military installations, and within foreign defense services such as the Australian Defense Force, and Canadian and British Armed Forces. You can see where iRest is currently integrated within military and veteran communities here (last updated January 2023).
We welcome you to view a short video of a veteran experiencing benefit from iRest below:
Special thanks to Warriors at Ease, Robin Carnes , and Christopher Giddinge for producing this video. Directed and Produced by Samantha Jade Adamson.
About PTSD and iRest
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a severe anxiety disorder with typical treatment being medications and/or psychotherapy. IRI and senior iRest teachers work with those experiencing trauma, their physicians and caregivers to navigate the symptoms of PTSD, and often associated conditions such as phobias, suicidal feelings, mood disorders, insomnia, fatigue, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, all of which can be debilitating. In working with traumas of the mind, as well as severe traumas in the body, iRest has helped navigate recovery and increase coping skills. iRest is integrative in that it heals the various unresolved issues, traumas, and wounds that are present in the body and mind, and restorative in that it aids the body and mind in returning to a natural state of functioning. iRest fosters freedom from stress and trauma, and helps identify and heal destructive tendencies that otherwise can impede the healing process.
In addition to traditional approaches such as psychotherapy, counseling and case work support, the military and veteran healthcare systems are embracing evidence-based mind-body modalities including iRest, yoga, meditation, massage and acupuncture to address the burgeoning healthcare needs within these communities. A growing body of research indicates that mind-body approaches can help people interweave healthy lifestyle practices into their daily lives that help alleviate pain, promote better sleep, increase resiliency, reduce anxiety and teach self-care management into their daily lives at a fraction of the cost of traditional therapies.
More Meditation Resources for Military Service Members and Veterans
Warriors at Ease
Exhalted Warrior Foundation
iRest Meditations on the Mindfulness Coach App
“I am currently the Clinical Director for an Intensive Outpatient Program that treats Wounded Warriors with the invisible wounds of traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder after multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan over the last decade and more. The Warriors are able to regain their grounding and move forward in their recovery and reintegration into continued active duty service or return to the community.” Captain John Golden, US Public Health Service
“I have been doing this yoga nidra now for about 3 years and I have gotten to a point now that I don’t have to take any medication for my blood pressure. And I don’t take anything for sleeping, so it has made a big improvement.” Tom Rusneck, Vietnam Veteran
"Instead of feeling like there is something wrong with us, iRest makes us feel like there is something right with us." Gilbert M., Iraq War Veteran
"I truly believe that iRest helps to save my life every day. It has given me the hope and strength I needed to reconnect myself to the world again.” U.S. Marine, Iraq War Veteran (3 deployments).
Learn More and Spread the Word
If you'd like to learn more about how iRest can help military and veteran communities or share this information with people and organizations who could use these resources, please view, download, print, and distribute our official iRest Military and Veteran trifold brochure below.
For more information, please contact iRest Institute's Head of Military and Veteran Programs, Kerryn Story at firstname.lastname@example.org