Managing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) isn’t a one-size-fits-all process.
Some do well on antidepressants to handle the hyperarousal that characterizes the disorder; others undergo psychotherapy, with mixed results at best.
Sudarshan Kriya Yoga, a practice of "controlled breathing that directly affects the autonomic nervous system,"
has already proven helpful in reducing PTSD symptoms for tsunami survivors and reducing anxiety in persons with depression. Now the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds (CIHM) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has discovered that the breathing-based meditation can effectively reduce PTSD symptoms for veterans, too.
During the CIHM study, 11 soldiers received a week of the yogic training against a control group of 10. The soldiers with the training regulated their respiration rates and displayed lower anxiety levels, both markers for PTSD. More research with more participants is being planned.
Richard J. Davidson, Ph.D., founder of CIHM and one of the authors of the study, is cautiously excited, and advocates treatment based on each individual patient. "The only way we can improve [results] is if we determine which kinds of people will benefit most from different types of treatments."
Read more about the CIHM study here