Women in a comparison group who did not take the classes also reported a similar decrease in symptoms , researchers found .
” The yoga group did well – improved in their symptoms of PTSD – and our control group actually did well , we did not expect ,” Karen Mitchell told Reuters Health.
Mitchell , National Center for PTSD in the VA Healthcare System Boston, led the new study .
“I emphasize that yoga (group ) definitely did not do worse,” he said. “Yoga could be potentially causing people with trauma , so while that’s not as exciting find , I think it’s important to say that. ”
Approximately one in 10 women in the U.S. are affected by PTSD , according to the authors . Many say that alternative and complementary therapies – such as yoga – to help deal with the symptoms, which can include trouble sleeping and have flashbacks related to the traumatic event, known as re -experiencing .
” It can be very debilitating and in the general population that affects women about twice as often as men,” Mitchell said. The findings of his team were published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress.
A total of 26 women with PTSD completed the study. The women had an average of 44 years and include both civil and military veterans.
Fourteen women attended weekly sessions for 12 weeks or yoga sessions twice a week for six weeks. Each session is 75 minutes long and focused on mind-body connections , breathing and physical postures . Women also completed a symptom questionnaire each week.
Twelve women in the comparison group met once a week for 12 weeks in small groups to complete the same questionnaires .
All participants completed a follow up evaluation one month after the sessions ended .
Mitchell and colleagues found that women in both groups had significant improvements in their symptoms. The yoga participants showed a decrease in the re -experiencing and hyperarousal symptoms , while the comparison group reported improvement in re-experiencing symptoms and anxiety.
” Both groups were doing evaluations, comes every week and interact with us – doing this kind of things that could have been useful to both groups,” Mitchell said.
Studies involving more women in the future are needed , he added.
“There are several proposed mechanisms on how yoga can help reduce the symptoms of PTSD , ” Julie Staples told Reuters Health in an email .
Staples conducted an earlier study on the same subject in the Veterans Health System Southeast Louisiana in New Orleans. She was not part of the new research.
“Simply put , yoga can regulate aspects of the endocrine system and the nervous system that are out of balance in PTSD ,” Staples said. “Yoga also reduces the stress response , which plays a role in the symptoms of PTSD . ”
Two of his colleagues , Michelle Hamilton and Madeline Uddo said responses from veterans in Louisiana yoga program has been very enthusiastic and report immediate benefit – to feel better when they leave the class and realize a positive impact in their daily lives .
Mitchell said people who are interested in trying yoga but do not know much about should shop around to find a style they like .
“It varies greatly in terms of style and pace – some people might do better with a slower style that gives them room to meditate and think , ” she said. ” Some people need the fastest pace to help them concentrate – . Their minds may wander too much and start thinking about your to-do list with a slower-paced class ”
Yoga instructors vary in their personality and style , and that’s important too, adds Mitchell.
” You want to feel comfortable with your instructor , especially if you’re new to this – you want to know that they will come around and help you align and feel comfortable with them doing that so they do not hurt and also has an experience positive if you feel connected to the instructor , “he said .