Effects of a yoga breath intervention alone and in combination with an exposure therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder and depression in survivors of the 2004 South-East Asia tsunami

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2010 Apr;121(4):289-300. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2009.01466.x. Epub 2009 Aug 19.


Objective: This study evaluated the effect of a yoga breath program alone and followed by a trauma reduction exposure technique on post-traumatic stress disorder and depression in survivors of the 2004 Asian tsunami.

Method: In this non-randomized study, 183 tsunami survivors who scored 50 or above on the Post-traumatic Checklist-17 (PCL-17) were assigned by camps to one of three groups: yoga breath intervention, yoga breath intervention followed by 3-8 h of trauma reduction exposure technique or 6-week wait list. Measures for post-traumatic stress disorder (PCL-17) and depression (BDI-21) were performed at baseline and at 6, 12 and 24 weeks. Data were analyzed using anova and mixed effects regression.

Results: The effect of treatment vs. control was significant at 6 weeks (F(2,178) = 279.616, P < 0.001): mean PCL-17 declined by 42.5 +/- 10.0 SD with yoga breath, 39.2 +/- 17.2 with Yoga breath + exposure and 4.6 +/- 13.2 in the control.

Conclusion: Yoga breath-based interventions may help relieve psychological distress following mass disasters.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Asia, Southeastern
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Disasters
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Implosive Therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / therapy*
  • Survivors / psychology*
  • Tsunamis
  • Yoga / psychology*
  • Young Adult