Can Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Reduce PTSD Symptoms as Effectively as Traditional Therapies?

Updated: Jun 14

Researchers in Atlanta compared Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TC-TSY) to cognitive processing therapy (CPT) for treatment of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The 104 participants involved were women veterans aged between 22-71 who had PTSD associated with military sexual trauma.

This study is the first to compare TCTSY therapy to one of the most beneficial first-line treatments for PTSD.

The results showed that TCTSY is just as effective at reducing symptoms of PTSD as CPT. However, midpoint through the study there was a greater reduction in PTSD symptoms in the TCTSY group, and a larger proportion of people finished the TCTSY treatment program.

It is important to mention, this study concerns TCTSY- this is a specific form of trauma-sensitive yoga. Researchers, psychologists, and yoga teachers at the Trauma Center (located within the Justice Resource Institute in Brookline, Massachusetts) spent years designing and experimentally validating their methodology. There are other forms of trauma-sensitive yoga, and I am not saying that they are not successful, but they often used different methods.

Typically, when a US veteran seeks treatment for military associated PTSD the current first-line treatments used by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) are trauma focused psychotherapies- 1) prolonged exposure and 2) cognitive processing therapy.

However, the drop-out rates for treatment using these psychotherapies are high, between 60-90% reported in both military and civilian populations. Furthermore, more than half of people that complete the treatment continue to meet criteria for PTSD.