Breathing-Based Meditation Decreases Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms in U.S. Military Veterans: A Randomized Controlled Longitudinal Study

Authors

  • Emma M. Seppälä,

    Corresponding author
    1. Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, School of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA
    • Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Emma M. Seppälä, Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, School of Medicine, Stanford University, 1070 Arastradero Road, Palo Alto, CA 94304, or to Richard J. Davidson, Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1500 Highland Avenue, Madison, WI 53705. E-mail: emmas@stanford.edu or rjdavids@wisc.edu

    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jack B. Nitschke,

    1. Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
    2. Department of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Dana L. Tudorascu,

    1. Department of Internal Medicine, Biostatistics and Geriatric Psychiatry Neuroimaging Lab, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Andrea Hayes,

    1. Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Michael R. Goldstein,

    1. Department of Psychology, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Dong T. H. Nguyen,

    1. Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, School of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • David Perlman,

    1. Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
    2. Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Richard J. Davidson

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
    2. Department of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
    • Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Emma M. Seppälä, Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, School of Medicine, Stanford University, 1070 Arastradero Road, Palo Alto, CA 94304, or to Richard J. Davidson, Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1500 Highland Avenue, Madison, WI 53705. E-mail: emmas@stanford.edu or rjdavids@wisc.edu

    Search for more papers by this author

  • Funds were provided by Disabled Veterans of America Charitable Service Trust. We gratefully acknowledge contributions by Diane Stodola, Jonathan Brumbaugh, Luke Hinsenkamp, Lauren Hazen, Maaheem Akhtar, and Timothy Rossomando.

  • [OnlineOpen was paid for by the authors on October 31, 2014. As such, the copyright and license for this article have been updated to reflect these changes.]

Abstract

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.

Resumen

Dado el éxito limitado de los tratamientos para veteranos con trastorno por estrés post traumático (TEPT), las investigaciones de enfoques alternativos están justificadas. Se examinaron los efectos de una intervención con meditación basada en la respiración, Sudarshan Kriya yoga, sobre las variables de resultado en TEPT en hombres veteranos americanos de la guerra de Irak o Afganistán. Se asignaron al azar 21 veteranos a un grupo activo (n = 11) o grupo de control de lista de espera (n = 10). Se obtuvieron mediciones de laboratorio de parpadeo de sobresalto y tasa de respiración antes y después de la intervención, así como mediciones de auto-reporte de síntomas, las cuales fueron obtenidas también un mes y un año después. El grupo activo mostró reducciones en los puntajes de TEPT (d = 1.16, 95% IC [0.20, 2.04]), síntomas de ansiedad, y tasa de respiración, pero no así el grupo de control. Reducciones en sobresalto se correlacionaban con reducciones en síntomas de hiperalerta inmediatamente después de la intervención (r = .93, p<.001) y al año de seguimiento (r = .77, p = .025). Este estudio de intervención longitudinal indica la utilidad clínica del Sudarshan Kriya yoga para el TEPT.

Traditional and Simplified Chinese Abstracts by AsianSTSS

標題:一個隨機受控縱向研究:呼吸為本冥想在美國退役軍人中有助減少創傷後壓力症症狀。

撮要:傳統治療退役軍的創傷後壓力症(PTSD)只有有限的成功率,所以我們需要研究其他療法。我們在一批伊拉克或阿富汗退役的美國男軍人中檢視一種呼吸為本冥想(即蘇達山克利亞瑜伽)對PTSD效果變量的療效。我們隨機分配21名退役兵到積極治療(n=11)或等候列(n=10)組別。在治療前後,實驗室測定驚嚇眨眼反應和呼吸速率,亦同時記錄自我報告症狀狀況(也在治療一個月和一年後記錄)。積極治療組別在PTSD得分(d=1.16,95% CI [0.20,2.04]),焦慮症狀和呼吸率都減少,但是對照組卻未有如此。驚嚇反應減少與治療後即時過激反應症狀減少有相連(r=.93,p < .001),亦與一年後過激反應症狀減少相關(r=.77,p=.025)。本縱向介入研究指出蘇達山克利亞瑜伽有其臨床應用的價值。

标题:一个随机受控纵向研究:呼吸为本冥想在美国退役军人中有助减少创伤后压力症症状。

撮要:传统治疗退役军的创伤后压力症(PTSD)只有有限的成功率,所以我们需要研究其他疗法。我们在一批伊拉克或阿富汗退役的美国男军人中检视一种呼吸为本冥想(即苏达山克利亚瑜伽)对PTSD效果变量的疗效。我们随机分配21名退役兵到积极治疗(n=11)或等候列(n=10)组别。在治疗前后,实验室测定惊吓眨眼反应和呼吸速率,亦同时记录自我报告症状状况(也在治疗一个月和一年后记录)。积极治疗组别在PTSD得分(d=1.16,95% CI [0.20,2.04]),焦虑症状和呼吸率都减少,但是对照组却未有如此。惊吓反应减少与治疗后实时过激反应症状减少有相连(r=.93,p < .001),亦与一年后过激反应症状减少相关(r=.77,p=.025)。本纵向介入研究指出苏达山克利亚瑜伽有其临床应用的价值。

Ancillary