Relaxation Techniques for Trauma

J Evid Inf Soc Work. Sep-Oct 2016;13(5):434-41. doi: 10.1080/23761407.2016.1166845. Epub 2016 Apr 27.


Physiological symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) manifest as increased arousal and reactivity seen as anger outburst, irritability, reckless behavior with no concern for consequences, hypervigilance, sleep disturbance, and problems with focus (American Psychiatric Association, 2013 ). In seeking the most beneficial treatment for PTSD, consideration must be given to the anxiety response. Relaxation techniques are shown to help address the physiological manifestations of prolonged stress. The techniques addressed by the authors in this article include mindfulness, deep breathing, yoga, and meditation. By utilizing these techniques traditional therapies can be complemented. In addition, those who are averse to the traditional evidence-based practices or for those who have tried traditional therapies without success; these alternative interventions may assist in lessening physiological manifestations of PTSD. Future research studies assessing the benefits of these treatment modalities are warranted to provide empirical evidence to support the efficacy of these treatments.

Keywords: Posttraumatic stress disorder; meditation; mindfulness; physiological stress responses; relaxation techniques; treatment; yoga.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breathing Exercises / methods
  • Breathing Exercises / psychology
  • Humans
  • Meditation / methods
  • Meditation / psychology
  • Mind-Body Therapies / methods*
  • Mind-Body Therapies / psychology*
  • Mindfulness / methods
  • Relaxation Therapy / methods
  • Relaxation Therapy / psychology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / physiopathology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / therapy*