PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — An employee at Intel is helping to transform the lives of hundreds of veterans suffering from PTSD.
Before Claudia Weber worked at Intel, she spent 5 years in the Navy and was a mental health counselor.
Her experiences led her to start a pilot program 5 years ago for Intel employees who spent time in the military and now suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Weber partnered with Heart Math, a nonprofit research institution that teaches breathing techniques to reduce stress.
The program uses tools to record a person’s heart rate which tracks the progress a person makes toward better health.
Participants work on slowing their breathing in order to shift from a stress response to a state of coherence.
Weber said with the lowering of stress and anxiety comes better sleep and the renewal of hormones.
Those who participate in the program said their doctors even notice the improvements.
Naval veteran Tony Campbell said that after using the program for a year and eating healthier, he was able to stop using all medication for high blood pressure and cholesterol.
“Even my doctor is going, yeah, it’s very evident you’re making lifestyle changes that’s helping and this program I think is really good for that,” said Campbell.
Marine Patrick Clements said the program has helped him control his hypersomnia and be more alert. He added that he was once tired throughout the day but now can function without having to take naps.
“Claudia does a really good job teaching the class,” he said. “She vocalizes really well and I’m really glad that she’s doing this.”
The program started with about 20 participants; last year, Weber trained more than 700 people.
She also now teaches more than just veterans at Intel.
The Oregon National Guard also asked her to teach its soldiers before they are deployed.