PTSD,Hoola Hooping as a Self-Designed Treatment Plan

7 years ago, my life was being ruined by PTSD and its very real and dangerous physiological symptoms that go along with the mental stress. It was destroying my health with stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisal, on a constant loop, and I was exhausted. My immune system was weak and I was developing a serious auto-immune condition, and one doctor suggested I be tested for MS.

When I started hoola hooping in 2008, I immediately noticed the change in my brain chemistry. After a few minutes of hooping I felt calm and pretty relaxed. I noticed it had a lasting affect and through the day I felt again, a calm "centeredness" in my system. The tremors were gone. I also felt more awake and energized.


So, I kept hooping through the highs and lows, and throughout my years of searching for effective treatments for PTSD and even studying as a counsellor, hoola hooping, for my symptoms, came out at the top, high above drug treatments and talk therapies. These treatments are important in the field of mental health, but cannot match the unique physical and psychological strengthening of hoola hooping for treating PTSD, by including the body in the healing.

Hoola hooping alone has a profound and lasting affect on every complex system of a human being who has ever experienced trauma. It connects the brain and body back together by forging new neural pathways in a state of joy, and an individual can continue to explore that infinite plane in a self-designed treatment plan for stress, and really start to feel better.

We cannot measure each other's pain or compare events, then try to minimize one or the other, because we did not experience them as others did. We have to focus on minimizing our own stress in our own environment and practice self-care.

We have to give ourselves the gift of trying new things, seeing if something might work for us, even if others try and stop us.

I have met husbands who did not want their wives to hoop, and they knew that she'd been raped in the past. I have taught 250 lb Navy Seals and soldiers who knew their collegues would discourage them from hooping by laughing at them, even though they knew they had PTSD. We have to walk our own path sometimes, despite what others think. Do not allow the fear of others to stand in your way.

We can only learn to trust our own body again.

I have hoola hooped with thousands of people now, and I know that chronic stress and PTSD is widespread.

People who have stress NEED to hoop to regulate their body's natural rhythms.

We, as modern human beings, are pushing ourselves harder and harder, physically and mentally. Add severe PTSD into that picture, and how does the body tell the difference between something that is beneficial and non-threatening, and something that is causing, (or maintaining,) stress in our system? It's a tricky thing to resolve sometimes, once the trauma has embedded itself into your system.

Hoola hooping helped me recognize that difference.
My body and mind interprets hoola hooping as something fun and kind of challenging, but never threatening.
I feel more connected to my soul, and my body feels stronger when I hoop regularly. This activity has given me a chance to help other people, and now I'm trying other new therapeutic movements, like Pilates, free-style dance, and my new yoga swing.


@jennifermountain on instagram

I've come to see some deeper truths about myself through the reflections of hoop dance, and have navigated my way to becoming an entrepreneur, having overcome lots of obstacles and finding I can do more than I thought I could. I'm able to hoop with people in a world-wide hoop dance community, and find online networks for hoopers, and I feel so grateful for that. I'm never alone in my hoop journey.

My brain, memory, cognitive function…it all feels clearer, and as long as I hoop regularly and listen to my body when it is giving me signals, I seem to be able to do more and more of the things I love, and after 7 years, feel PTSD fading as my health improves.

~Right now I am writing a best-practice-guide for doctors, nurses, psychologists, physiotherapists on how to prescribe hoola hooping to their patients, and for people who want to try it as a therapeutic treatment for PTSD and other stress-related disorders. Please email me at if you would like more information. -Jennifer Mountain

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Medicine Hoop Retreats, Argenta, BC, CANADA 250-366-0028 Jen Cookson 2013