The study placed one group of women in yoga classes and monitored their levels of PTSD while another control group was used who did not do the yoga classes. While the women who were in the yoga classes saw a reduction in the PTSD levels what was a surprise to those running the study was that those in the control group also saw their PTSD levels fall as well.
Karen Mitchell from the National Center for PTSD told Reuters Health: “The yoga group did well – they improved in their PTSD symptoms – and our control group actually did well, which we did not expect.”
She added: “I do emphasise that the yoga group definitely did not do worse. Yoga could potentially be triggering for people with trauma, so while that’s not as exciting a finding, I think it is important to say that.”
The study began because in the USit is estimated that around one in 10 women suffer from some form of PTSD and anecdotal evidence has previously suggested that certain complementary therapies, including yoga, have been found to help ease the symptoms of PTSD. Karen Mitchell continued: “It can be very debilitating and in the general population it affects women about twice as much as often as men.”
During the study the researchers looked at a group of 26 women with an average age of 44. Some of the people in the study were formerly in the military while the rest were civilians and the group was assessed with some taking part in a single yoga session each week for 12 weks and some doing yoga twice a week for six weeks. Those who did the yoga and those who did not all had to complete a questionnaire relating to their PTSD and from this the results were collated by the researchers.
Another researcher who has focused o the benefits of yoga in the past is Julie Staples. She did not take part in the study but told Reuters Health: “Simply stated, yoga may regulate aspects of the endocrine system and the nervous system that are out of balance in PTSD. Yoga also reduces the stress response which plays a role in PTSD symptoms.”
So far there is no clear link between the health benefits of yoga and treating PTSD but it is clear that by doing yoga there are only positive results to be found.
What other health impacts does yoga have on you?