Background: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a cluster of symptoms in which a person persistently relives a traumatic event, through recurring thoughts, nightmares, and flashbacks for at least 1 month or more. There are various behavioral and medical treatment options for PTSD. Mind-body techniques, such as biofeedback and breathing-based stress reduction, have shown some promise in the treatment of PTSD symptoms. The purpose of this case series was to examine controlled yogic breathing as a complementary treatment of PTSD in military veterans. A retrospective review was performed from 2012 to 2016 in 3 cases, and participant demographics, member statements, and PTSD Checklist-Military Version (PCL-M) scores, pre-and-post course, were extracted. Cases: Three military veterans with PTSD participated in a standardized 5-day course designed to teach them controlled rhythmic yogic breathing exercises. Results: Subjectively, all 3 participants reported a decrease in PTSD symptoms after the course. Objectively, all 3 participants had a reduction in their overall PCL-M scores after the course. Among all 3 participants, there were score decreases in the Avoidance and Increased Arousal categories. The most dramatic improvement occurred in the participant with the most severe symptoms. Conclusions: Controlled yogic breathing, specifically Sudarshan Kriya (SKY), appeared to reduce the symptoms of PTSD in 3 veterans of the Armed Services.
Keywords: Sudarshan Kriya; military veterans; post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); pranayama; yoga.