yoga PTSD

Can yoga help those experiencing depression, anxiety or PTSD?

Potential benefits of yoga for people who experience mental health problems related to trauma

March 9, 2016

Science Daily/University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Across the country, health and human service providers have shown a growing interest in using yoga as an option for treating people who experience mental health problems. But a recent study has found that while there are some promising benefits to using yoga, there isn't yet enough evidence to support the practice as a standalone solution for improving mental health and well-being.

 

"I really wanted to know if yoga is something we should be suggesting to people who have post-traumatic stress disorder, or depression, or anxiety or various traumas. What does the evidence really say?," said Rebecca Macy, a researcher who works with violence and trauma survivors who headed up the study at the UNC School of Social Work.

 

For their study, Macy and her colleagues analyzed 13 literature reviews to conduct a meta-review of 185 articles published between 2000 and 2013. Overall, the researchers found that yoga holds potential promise for helping improve anxiety, depression, PTSD and/or the psychological consequences of trauma at least in the short term.

 

The study, published recently in the journal Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, also suggested that clinicians and service providers consider recommending yoga as an intervention in addition to other "evidence-based and well-established treatments," including psychotherapy and medication.

 

"Even though I do think yoga is, in general, incredibly beneficial, I also think there needs to be a whole lot more education about how to use yoga specifically to treat survivors of trauma in order to be the most effective and helpful," said Leslie Roach, a certified yoga instructor and massage therapist who co-authored the study. "So as a standalone treatment right now, it's just not viable. However, I think with more education, more research, and more experienced instructors, it will be."

 

Macy and Roach are considering several possible future studies, including one that would examine the use of yoga within a rape crisis center or domestic violence shelter. However, because yoga is a holistic practice, researchers must be careful not to "undermine yoga's approach," Macy added.

 

"One of our recommendations was that researchers and yoga instructors partner together so that we use holistic methods in future research," Macy said. "We need to ask ourselves if we're taking these Western research methods and trying too hard to fit a round peg in a square hole. As a researcher, I don't want to undo the potential benefits of yoga by making the practice unnecessarily standard and systematic."

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160309140042.htm

Yogic breathing shows promise in reducing symptoms of PTSD

September 11, 2014

Science Daily/University of Wisconsin-Madison

New research offers hope for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Researchers there have shown that a breathing-based meditation practice called Sudarshan Kriya Yoga can be an effective treatment for PTSD.

 

One of the greatest casualties of war is its lasting effect on the minds of soldiers. This presents a daunting public health problem: More than 20 percent of veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a 2012 report by RAND Corp.

 

Individuals with PTSD suffer from intrusive memories, heightened anxiety, and personality changes. The hallmark of the disorder is hyperarousal, which can be defined as overreacting to innocuous stimuli, and is often described as feeling “jumpy,” or easily startled and constantly on guard.

 

Hyperarousal is one aspect of the autonomic nervous system, the system that controls the beating of the heart and other body functions, and governs one’s ability to respond to his or her environment. Scientists believe hyperarousal is at the core of PTSD and the driving force behind some of its symptoms.

 

Standard treatment interventions for PTSD offer mixed results. Some individuals are prescribed antidepressants and do well while others do not; others are treated with psychotherapy and still experience residual affects of the disorder.

 

Sudarshan Kriya Yoga is a practice of controlled breathing that directly affects the autonomic nervous system. While the practice has proven effective in balancing the autonomic nervous system and reducing symptoms of PTSD in tsunami survivors, it has not been well studied until now.

 

“A clinician could use a ‘tool box’ of psychological assessments to determine the cognitive and emotional style of the patient, and thereby determine a treatment that would be most effective for that individual,” he says. “Right now, a large fraction of individuals who are given any one type of therapy are not improving on that therapy. The only way we can improve that is if we determine which kinds of people will benefit most from different types of treatments.”

 

That assessment is critical. At least 22 veterans take their own lives every day, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Because Sudarshan Kriya Yoga has already been shown to increase optimism in college students, and reduce stress and anxiety in people suffering from depression, it may be an effective way to decrease suffering and, quite possibly, the incidence of suicide among veterans.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140911151651.htm

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