WJBK - Many approaches have been taken when it comes to treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in veterans - drugs, exposure therapy, all the way to yoga and therapy dogs. Well another method is now getting some attention -- jumping in water with sharks.
"Many of our soldiers are having some emotional rehabilitation that they're going through and so it gives them a chance to manage their emotions, whether they're high or they're low," says Louis McGranaghan, Joint Base Lewis-McChord Warrior Transition Battalion.
Breathing is essential, but deep, full breaths can ease anxiety -- and bring the body ready for a dive with sharks.
It's a voluntary encounter with Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium's 16 sharks. Much like everything else the soldiers have done, it takes teamwork to prepare. The soldiers go underwater in a box for the out-of-the-box technique to healing. It's an experience that is therapeutic without sitting in a counselor's office.
"It builds on more success and they become healed and transitioned either back to their duty or outside in the civilian world," says McGranaghan.
That aquarium is in Washington state, but this technique is being used all over the country. The idea of this therapy is overcoming challenges, facing fear and persevering.
In research done by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the use of shark diving as therapy has 'inconclusive' results regarding its effectiveness. But for individuals, there are some good results.