Assessment of yoga as an adjuvant treatment for combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder

Australas Psychiatry. 2017 Aug;25(4):354-357. doi: 10.1177/1039856217695870. Epub 2017 Mar 1.


Objectives: This study assessed yoga as an adjuvant strategy for symptoms of combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Methods: Subjects had significant, combat-related PTSD. Control data were collected during an eight-week waiting period. Trauma-sensitive yoga sessions of 90 minutes duration were provided every seven days for eight weeks. Assessments included the PTSD checklist (PCL); the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS); the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI); the Adult/Adolescent Sensory Profile (AASP); the SF36 Quality of Life instrument; and a brief, structured pre-enrolment assessment of attitudes towards yoga. Biomarkers were also assessed.

Results: Thirty participants were recruited, with 28 completing the protocol ( Mage=63.5 years). For most variables, there was no significant change in results after the waiting period. Comparing measurements obtained immediately prior to the commencement of the intervention to those taken after completion of eight yoga sessions, significant changes included an increase in the serum dehydroepiandrosterone concentration, decreased total PCL score (and all PCL sub-scales), decreases in all DASS sub-scale scores and significant improvements in PSQI and SF36 scores. No adverse events were reported.

Conclusions: A range of benefits were observed after yoga, consistent with the theoretical construct for the long history of yoga as a strategy to reduce stress and promote well-being.

Keywords: posttraumatic stress disorder; yoga.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic* / therapy
  • Warfare*
  • Yoga*