Assessing the Effectiveness of Yoga as a Complementary and Alternative Treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Review and Synthesis
Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.)
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2017
Pages: 747 - 755
Source ID: shanti-sources-70086
Collection: Yoga-Based Interventions for Stress and Anxiety
Abstract: OBJECTIVES: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating condition that affects many who have experienced trauma. In addition to skills-focused treatments, exposure-based treatments, cognitive therapy, combination treatments, and EMDR, a number of alternative treatments for PTSD have emerged in recent years. The search for alternative treatments is justified based on the empirical observation that a large percentage of individuals fail to benefit optimally from existing treatments (e.g., between 30 and 60). Moreover, current studies often utilize stringent inclusion criteria (e.g., absence of comorbid disorders), raising the likelihood that results will not generalize to many individuals currently experiencing PTSD. The primary objective of the current paper was to explore the effects of one type of alternative treatment: yoga. DESIGN: A comprehensive review of the literature was conducted targeting research examining yoga postures and PTSD. Seven randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were identified and reviewed, and effect sizes were computed for the post-test assessments. RESULTS: Cohen's d for each study ranged (in absolute value) from a low of -0.06 to a high of 1.42 (average weighted d across studies was 0.48; 95% CI: 0.26, 0.69). CONCLUSIONS: Putative mechanisms of action for the possible beneficial effects of yoga for PTSD-related symptomatology and clinical implications are discussed.