TFGP is a blog written by Veteran and civilian “Guinea Pigs” who, with no prior experience, sign up to try a nontraditional healing treatment and then report back on it. Use the “Guinea Pig” perspective to decide for yourself what types of healing modalities you want to experience.
Interested in writing a TFGP article? Learn how to be a “Guinea Pig” HERE

THE FLYING GUINEA PIG – MASSAGE

A Lump of Pain  by Scott Lee   When Travis Martin, president of the Military Experience and the Arts, contacted me about an organization called Serve the Warrior that sets up alternative healing treatments for veterans in their hometowns for free or reduced cost, I was definitely interested. As a Veteran of the First Gulf War and a driver for the Bradley Fighting Vehicle for our brigade, I witnessed over 20,000 enemy lives taken in the 100 Hour Ground War. On this mission, I led the battle tanks into position and watched them dispatch the opposition tanks, turrets flipping end over end from our new armored piercing rounds. It was a four-day orgy of death that received little coverage in the press. In 2005, I was living in a small town in Kentucky far away from everyone I knew. Stuck … Continue reading

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THE FLYING GUINEA PIG – GENTLE YOGA – PART 3

Supported, Grounded, and Stable – Part Three of Three by Megan Cederbaum   Please read Part One and Part Two to understand where this picks up:   After class, I can definitely say I felt as if I were on “cloud nine!”  Even though some aspects of the class were challenging, that’s what made it all work for me as well.  If I’d already known all of the poses and what to do, it wouldn’t have been such a new and rewarding experience.  As the others were leaving, I spoke with Kathy and told her how much I enjoyed my first yoga class.  She gave me a little more insight on Gentle Yoga and told me to come back to try all the different classes the studio offers.   Walking out, I felt like a whole new person:  relaxed, at ease, and ready … Continue reading

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THE FLYING GUINEA PIG – GENTLE YOGA – PART 2

Supported, Grounded, and Stable – Part Two of Three by Megan Cederbaum   Please read Part One to understand where this picks up:   The instructor, Kathy Jamison, was extremely inviting and personable; I immediately liked her.  Kathy has a warm and gentle voice, which I found very relaxing.  Before class actually began, she asked if anyone was new and I raised my hand.  All eyes were on me now!  I introduced myself and explained why I was here; each person seemed happy that I’d be sharing my experience with Vets through STW and this blog.   Class began and Kathy taught everything one step at a time.  She was very helpful in making sure I knew how to do all the poses (asana in Sanskrit) safely.  In the Gentle class, we practiced a lot of the same postures that are done … Continue reading

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THE FLYING GUINEA PIG – GENTLE YOGA – PART 1

Supported, Grounded, and Stable – Part One of Three by Megan Cederbaum   My name is Megan Cederbaum, I’m from Connecticut, and I just graduated from Roger Williams University.  I’ve always had a passion for helping people, much like the people at Serve the Warrior (STW), and I’m currently an STW intern.  My experience so far has been amazing; I learn new things everyday.  When I was offered the opportunity to sample a healing treatment and share my experiences in this blog, I was more than ready!   I’ve heard endless testimonials about the everyday benefits of yoga from friends and family, so I decided to give it a try.  Having never attended a yoga class before, I was also a bit apprehensive, but I realized those feelings were part of all the uncertainty in my life since graduating.  I needed … Continue reading

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THE FLYING GUINEA PIG – TRE – PART 3

It turned out that I didn’t have to wait too long pondering these, because very soon I began to feel a tingling sensation in my legs. My knees began to move in and out like wings beating and I could feel the rhythm rising up my abdomen. Mary explained that if there were a part of the body where stress was stored, the tremors would find there way there. Sure enough, I began to sense the tremoring in my shoulders and neck, especially in my right side where I felt a little pinched whenever I was under stress or tired or nervous. It’s not easy to describe the sensation Continue reading

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THE FLYING GUINEA PIG – TRE – PART 2

Shake It Off – Part Two of Three by Sarah Eggers   Please read Part One to understand where this picks up:   Although Mary was a gifted guide, she made clear to us that the beauty of TRE is that the exercises work, once they have been mastered, regardless of the leader.  TRE, Mary explained, is basically a series of six simple, but semi-strenuous exercises that are designed to systematically fatigue the muscles of the lower body, thereby eliciting the body’s tremor response. The final and most important step of the technique involves lying on one’s back with the knees raised, a position that allows the tremoring to take place. One of the things I appreciate about TRE is that it is a self-help technique–that is, once you learn the exercises you can do them by yourself, wherever and whenever you … Continue reading

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THE FLYING GUINEA PIG – TRE – PART 1

My dog, a five-year-old runty black and white rescue pit bull, still has all the bursting exuberance of a puppy. Physically brave, I have seen her literally jump off cliffs, landing unscathed. On hikes, she tears off into the brush after birds or squirrels. When I lived in New York, she tried to take on the horses waiting at the curb for tourists to cart around Central Park. I mention all these details not only because I am one of those annoying people who likes to talk about their dog (I am), but also because it was not until I did some research on Continue reading

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THE FLYING GUINEA PIG – TONGLEN – PART 3

A couple of frantic minutes later, the noise in my mind was interrupted by Leigh’s soothing voice. By concentrating on her words, I was able to re‐focus my thoughts and get back to the task at hand. She had us focus on a loved one that was sick or in need of help. With every inhale, we were to take in their suffering and with every exhale, concentrate on giving out love, hope, and understanding. As my son was sick that day, I envisioned taking away his suffering with every breath in, and with every exhale, sending him love and wellness. A few moments later, I began the same process, but focused on the parents of my fallen brothers. With every inhale, I imagined taking away the pain they felt from losing their sons, and with every exhale, sent them my love and understanding.

However, it only took a few more breaths before my mind went nuts again. I was trying so hard to concentrate but kept failing. Finally, Leigh Anne guided us to come out of our meditative state. All I could think about as I came back to full awareness was how completely I had failed at meditation. I was disappointed because I thought I would only Continue reading

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THE FLYING GUINEA PIG – TONGLEN – PART 2

Giving and Taking – Part Two of Three by: Robert Tanner   Please read Part One to understand where this picks up:   Thursday evening, I pulled into the parking lot of Sacred Om Yoga in Point Pleasant, NJ, feeling a bit nervous. “What did I get myself into,” I wondered as I made my way across the parking lot. I wanted so badly for this to help, to feel that same sense of relief as when I finished the writing, but I was afraid.  I wasn’t convinced that meditation could actually help me. It’s not that I didn’t have an open mind; it’s just that I wasn’t sure everything would go as planned.   In the lobby, I was greeted by the owner, Susan, a very pleasant woman who made me feel welcome. As I was a few minutes early, I sat … Continue reading

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THE FLYING GUINEA PIG -TONGLEN – PART 1

Giving and Taking – Part One of Three by Robert Tanner   Nearly ten years ago, I sat in the cargo bay of a C-130 as a USMC infantryman on my way to Kuwait. I was part of a contingent of Marines deployed to Fallujah, Iraq to help restore order and bring peace to the people of the region. Seven grueling, heart-wrenching months later, I left Fallujah knowing that I had done my job to the best of my ability, but at a cost. Too many good friends had passed during our time and the mental toll this had taken on us all was enormous.   When we got back to the United States, I tried not to think much of what happened in Iraq. I fought internally to keep the bad memories out of mind. My line of thought … Continue reading

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