A report from Deborah Stegmaier, edited by Jann Garitty
Editor’s note: We are witnesses to the suffering of countless others on our planet, much of which is caused by ongoing military conflicts around the globe. Many of those who have served in the U.S. military are individuals who suffer from having seen pain and destruction closely, or have performed acts that go against the grain of the healthy human psyche. As a result, and as in all past wars, many veterans of the military carry deep psychological wounds. These are the types of wounds that do not heal easily and take much patience and compassion to address. There are hundreds of thousands of military veterans who receive compensation from the Veterans Administration for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). One can only guess that there are hundreds of thousands of others with PTSD who are unreported and untreated.
According to the National Center for PTSD, veterans with PTSD often have profound problems in family and other interpersonal relationships, problems with employment, and have involvement with the criminal justice system. PTSD is also associated with the increased likelihood of co-occurring psychiatric disorders, substance abuse and a multitude of physical symptoms. Many of the homeless people in the United States are veterans and undoubtedly, high numbers of them have PTSD. One statistic often heard in recent years is that 20 veterans and active-duty personnel die by suicide every day. Again, undoubtedly, PTSD is a contributing factor.
FES believes strongly that flower essence therapy can be highly beneficial for military-related PTSD.
Deborah Stegmaier, herself a veteran, is addressing the need for healing veterans with PTSD, mild traumatic brain injuries, military sexual trauma and chronic pain. Following is a report regarding her nonprofit organization, Well-Being for Warriors.
Four years ago, I founded Well-Being for Warriors after becoming aware of the severe life changing symptoms of PTSD that our veterans and military were experiencing after deployment to war. Well-Being for Warriors is a non-profit organization that offers free holistic and energy medicine services to veterans and military who suffer from PTSD, mild traumatic brain injury, military sexual trauma and chronic pain to help prevent suicide. People find Well-Being for Warriors by word of mouth, social media or through my speaking engagements. Veterans also contact Well-Being for Warriors because they are looking for alternative natural healing methods. They do not want to take medications that ultimately do not work for them. The Well-Being for Warriors Program also includes meditation, breathwork, yoga nidra, massage, including Thai massage, neurobehavioral optometry, nutritional counseling, coaching and more. The use of flower essences has become an essential part of our program.
When a Veteran presents to me, besides doing my assessment and first full session with him or her, I give them Post-Trauma Stabilizer. My instructions are, “Use this three times a day, 3-4 squirts. Carry the bottle with you, and then when you get triggered wherever you happen to be, squirt it in your mouth as soon as you feel the trigger.” They report to me when they do that, they feel calmer on the inside and it “brings them together” so that they can regroup and use their mindfulness and tools, instead of the symptoms becoming worse. They are often surprised by how quickly it works for them. I give it to them typically for a month and tell them to use it every single day as instructed. As a result, the bodywork and energy work are much easier and quickly starts a healing process. I feel like it sets them up. In addition, when they come in for a session with me, usually once a week, I have a variety of essences and essential oils that I use intuitively or use kinesiology to choose which one is best for them that day. Using the combination of integrative bodywork, energy work with the flower essences and essential oils, the veterans feel they are truly healing and able to change their lives.
After a month and a bottle has been used up, and after several sessions utilizing body work, energy work, EFT, and coaching, combined with other things such as mindfulness, breathwork, etc., I re-assess whether or not they still need Post-Trauma Stabilizer or if their body is telling me they need to treat the next layer. Some of them do need it, or then I typically will go to either Fear-Less or Grief Relief depending on which layer of emotion is up for them. It’s all about what layer they’re in, who they are and what their experience was. I integrate the bodywork and the energy work with that next layer using Fear-Less or Grief Relief.
Grief Relief is very powerful. For example, I have veterans who have suffered for years with grief from war and give them Grief Relief. They report that their hearts are more open and they don’t feel as heavy in their chests as before. The instructions are the same as with Post-Trauma stabilizer, 3-4 squirts, 3x/day. Again, this is in combination with the energy work and bodywork, but their hearts are more open after years of living with closed traumatized hearts! They’re not crying as much on the inside, and the sadness and heaviness in their hearts is lighter. One Vietnam veteran who is 71 years old said to me, “I have more love available for my wife. My relationships with family and co-workers are changing.” After many years of trying to heal, within a short period of time, 5-6 sessions, this is typical of what veterans are experiencing.
The Fear-Less is important because much of the time they’re still holding terror and fear in their tissues and energy field. The Fear-Less takes the edge off, decreasing anxiety. They can start going out in public more using their mindfulness and reality checks, they feel less anxious and can be more present. They can realize, “I am safe, I’m safe in this moment.” However, they couldn’t do it before our program using the flower essences and integrative body work.
In addition, for some I use the Flora Sleep formula and that helps them to sleep with fewer nightmares, as well.
Some wives/caregivers will come to the WBFW program. I witness how much stress and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that spouses and children have as a result of being a military family with invisible wounds of war with PTSD and mild TBI. I work with them on the same level. For example, I often give wives/caregivers Post-Trauma Stabilizer because they experience so much stress resulting in secondary PTSD. Working with both veteran and caregiver in our program and using the FES formulas has been amazing for their families.
I am a strong advocate for bodywork and energy work combined with flower essences and essential oils. I am passionate about wanting other practitioners to know about the potential of helping clients to heal, transform and become empowered in their process—and especially, for our veterans who need the holistic integrative approach. It’s important to help bodyworkers, massage therapists, physical therapists and others, to know that they can get further in their work when utilizing flower essences. It will take them to another level of helping those clients heal and be empowered.
Please note, however, working with veterans takes special awareness and training. They can be triggered easily or flood with emotions and experience dissociation and more. It is advised that one not work with veteran clients unless or until one has undergone this awareness or training.
Here is one source of online programs for those working with veterans:
Warriors at Ease Level 1 and 2 Teacher Training Courses (This training is for anyone, but states certification is for Meditation and Yoga Teachers.)
About Deborah Stegmaier
Deborah Stegmaier, Founder of Well-Being for Warriors, Inc., is a holistic Physical Therapist practicing Integrative Manual Therapy, Craniosacral Therapy, Energy Medicine, Mind-Body Centered Therapy, EFT (Tapping), SomatoEmotional Release, Energy Psychology and Spirituality. She graduated from the University of Connecticut and served active duty and reserves in the U.S. Army as a physical therapist.
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