Pilot study of the effects of mixed light touch manual therapies on active duty soldiers with chronic post-traumatic stress disorder and injury to the head

J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2016 Jan;20(1):42-51. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2015.03.006. Epub 2015 Mar 26.


This pilot study was designed to examine the effects of mixed Light Touch Manual Therapies (LTMT) on headache, anxiety and other symptoms suffered by active duty United States service members experiencing chronic Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Ten service members diagnosed with PTSD and having a self-reported injury to the head acquired at least two years prior, were provided with two hour-long sessions of mixed LTMT given a week apart. Data to assess the immediate and durable effects were gathered before and after the LTMT sessions. Results indicate that headache, anxiety, and pain interference were significantly reduced during the course of the pilot study. This suggests that mixed LTMT may be helpful in reducing some of the symptoms of PTSD and injury to the head. Further studies will be needed to determine if LTMT is an effective non-pharmacological treatment for headache, anxiety or other problems associated with PTSD or injury to the head.

Keywords: Anxiety; Brain Curriculum; Craniosacral Therapy; Head injury; Headache; Manual therapy; Pain Interference; Post-traumatic stress disorder; Traumatic brain injury; United States Soldiers.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Anxiety / rehabilitation
  • Brain Injuries / epidemiology
  • Brain Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Headache
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massage / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Military Personnel*
  • Pain / epidemiology
  • Pain / rehabilitation
  • Pilot Projects
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / rehabilitation*
  • United States