A new study published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress found that yoga can be highly beneficial when treating PTSD in war veterans. The study is the first of its kind to provide scientific support for the benefits of yoga’s breathing techniques for PTSD patients. It focused on the breathing and meditative based Sudarshan Kriya yoga practice, and involved a small randomized and controlled sample of patients who were diagnosed with PTSD after serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.
The Washington Post reports:
The study found that the group who had done yoga demonstrated fewer or less intense PTSD symptoms in comparison. Those who took part in the yoga sessions showed lower anxiety and lower respiration rates. They performed better in tests measuring eye-blink and breathing frequency in response to stimuli such as noise bursts, which are used to measure hyper-arousal and how an well individuals are regulating emotions. The researchers also found that the sessions helped with intrusive memories: patients reported re-experiencing trauma during the exercises, but felt that the impact of the memories was reduced.
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