Free the Mind

Free the Mind

Downloadable Video - 2012
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FREE THE MIND follows neuroscientist Dr. Richard Davidson as he conducts an unusual experiment. Following the practices of Buddhist monks and the advice of his friend the Dalai Lama, Dr. Davidson utilizes meditation and yoga in an attempt to physically alter the brains of veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). To see how early in life these practices can take effect Dr. Davidson broadens the study to include children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Focusing on participants such as Steve, an ex-interrogator, and Rich, who led battalions in Iraq and Afghanistan, the film documents the promising effects of Dr. Davidson's non-medicinal methods of treating pain and anxiety, leading to relaxation and happiness. FREE THE MIND asks the question: Can you rewire the brain just by taking a breath?
Publisher: [United States] : Kino Lorber : Made available through hoopla, 2012
Characteristics: 1 online resource (1 video file (ca. 80 min.)) : sd., col

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ms_mustard
Oct 29, 2016

this doc presents some good illustrations about the benefit of mindfulness and breathing/meditation techniques - but it's not a lesson in how to use these tools for yourself. that information is widely available elsewhere.

the juxtaposition of a young boy with behavioral problems and a fear of elevators against the devastation of vets suffering PTSD was interesting but the links between the two were not explicit. you are left to assume and conclude much on your own.

I found the graphics of brain energy interjected between scenes to be utterly distracting and of no real benefit towards understanding how breathing and mindfulness can retrain the brain.

Richard J. Davidson's book - The Emotional Life of the Brain - is more informative.

s
Sharpnre
May 27, 2015

I was disappointed with this film as I expected much more. The little child was adorable, but I wonder how helpful it was to allow the elevator scenario to drag on for so long. I can see being kind/gentle, but also we want him to be able to face things going forward.
Second: the PTSD work done with the veterans seemed only to focus on breathing. I expected more mindful activities...ex...the brain is capable of neuroplasticity, but there was no work on "reframing" the experience. The "questions" in the survey seemed different in the second test...the wording seemed to lead to a more positive answer. I just expected a lot more...alas

s
Saint_Mirin
Dec 10, 2014

What the heck?? So difficult to follow. You keep waiting for them to get to the point. They never explain anything, tell you who anyone is, offer actual statistics, etc... It almost would've played better in reverse. That's how messed up the flow of the film is. Terrible job of following the subjects in the film. Only a few times does anyone ever address the camera. At the end they only follow up with 2 people after just 1 month! Well of course it's still working then. Exercise is also a form of meditation so I like that one guy brought that up sort of dismissing the program. One of the most wayward and uninformative documentaries I've ever seen.

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