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Yoga Nidra Reduces the Symptoms of Sexual Trauma Survivors at the Tacoma VA

21 Jul

In this small pilot study, researchers from the Tacoma VA Medical Center tested the impact of yoga nidra (iRest®), a form of guided mindfulness meditation, on women veterans suffering from symptoms of sexual trauma and military sexual trauma.

Ten women participants experienced nineteen 90-minute sessions, twice a week, for 10 weeks, except for one week with a holiday.

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

Sixteen women were recruited: 15 enrolled, 5 dropped out due to transportation issues, and 10 completed the protocol.

The ten who completed the study reported significant decreases in symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (p < 0.01, d = 0.66), negative thoughts of self-blame (p < 0.05, d = 0.52), and depression (p < 0.05, d = 0.64).

Participants 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.

Participants also enthusiastically endorsed the class and stated they would take it again and recommend it to others.

The investigators conclude that this yoga nidra intervention showed promising results for women with sexual trauma, and that 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