Breathing-based meditation decreases posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms in U.S. military veterans: a randomized controlled longitudinal study.
J Trauma Stress. 2014 Aug ;27(4):397-405. PMID: 25158633
Emma M Seppälä
Given the limited success of conventional treatments for veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), investigations of alternative approaches are warranted. We examined the effects of a breathing-based meditation intervention, Sudarshan Kriya yoga, on PTSD outcome variables in U.S. male veterans of the Iraq or Afghanistan war. We randomly assigned 21 veterans to an active (n = 11) or waitlist control (n = 10) group. Laboratory measures of eye-blink startle and respiration rate were obtained before and after the intervention, as were self-report symptom measures; the latter were also obtained 1 month and 1 year later. The active group showed reductions in PTSD scores, d = 1.16, 95% CI [0.20, 2.04], anxiety symptoms, and respiration rate, but the control group did not. Reductions in startle correlated with reductions in hyperarousal symptoms immediately postintervention (r = .93, p<.001) and at 1-year follow-up (r = .77, p = .025). This longitudinal intervention study suggests there may be clinical utility for Sudarshan Kriya yoga for PTSD.