New Research: Yoga Effective for Women with treatment resistant PTSD

Although “Yoga as an adjunctive treatment for post traumatic stress disorder: a randomized controlled trial,” the title of the recent article published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry modestly gives the impression that the authors demonstrate that yoga is an effective treatment when combined with psychotherapy, the study results show something much more exciting. Bessel van der Kolk, MD, a pioneer in the treatment and study of PTSD, and his colleagues at the Brookline Trauma Center, including yogi David Emerson, co-author of Trauma Sensitive Yoga, compared ten weeks of a one hour weekly trauma informed yoga class to a weekly one-hour women’s education and support group.

The primary outcome measure given to the 64 female participants was the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS). At the end of the study, 16 of 31 participants (52%) in the yoga group no longer met criteria for PTSD compared to 6 of 29 (21%) in the control group. Both groups exhibited significant decreases in PTSD symptoms during the first half of treatment, but these improvements were maintained in the yoga group, while the control group relapsed after its initial improvement.

The authors conclude that yoga significantly reduced PTSD symptoms comparable to well-researched psychotherapeutic and psychopharmacologic approaches. “Yoga,” says the authors, “may improve the functioning of traumatized individuals by helping them to tolerate physical and sensory experiences associated with fear and helplessness and to increase emotional awareness and affect tolerance.”

Our next Trauma Sensitive Yoga Class Series (with Deb Sherrer) beings on September 18th and classes take place on Thursdays from 6:00-7:15pm for 10 weeks. This will be the start of the 5th year of this program running! Click here for more information and to sign up.