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Women Vets with Military Sexual Trauma Get Help from Yoga Nidra

23 Jun

As you know, we have in production a wonderful, new Yoga Nidra meditation by Julie Lusk. And June is PTSD Awareness Month. And June 21st is International Yoga Day. So, hey, for all these reasons, don’t you think the study below is relevant and timely? Check this out!

A small pilot study out of the Tacoma V.A. examines iRest, also called Yoga Nidra, a form of guided mindfulness meditation, and its ability to reduce the symptoms of sexual trauma, including military sexual trauma (MST), in a sample of women seeking psychotherapy services at the VA.  

The Yoga Nidra intervention consisted of 90-minute sessions, held 19 times, twice a week for 10 weeks, excepting one week with a holiday.

Participants completed pre- and post-treatment self-report measures: the Brief Symptom Inventory-18 (BSI), Posttraumatic Cognitions Inventory (PTCI), and the Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Check List (PCL).

Sixteen women were recruited and 15 enrolled. Five dropped out due to transportation issues, and 10 completed the protocol.

Completers reported significant decreases in symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (p < 0.01), negative thoughts of self-blame (p < 0.05,), and depression (p < 0.05). Subjects also offered verbal reports of decreased body tension; improved quality of sleep; improved ability to handle intrusive thoughts; improved ability to manage stress; and an increased feeling of joy.

They also stated they would do it again and recommend it to others.

The investigators conclude that this small pilot study showed promising results from delivering iRest to women with sexual trauma in a VA medical center, but further research is warranted.

Citation: Pence PG, Katz LS1, Huffman C, Cojucar G. Delivering Integrative Restoration-Yoga Nidra Meditation (iRest®) to Women with Sexual Trauma at a Veteran's Medical Center: A Pilot Study. International Journal of Yoga Therapy. 2014;24:53-62.

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Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award