Elin-Kristin Hem

Yoga in the treatment of trauma-related disorders: A systematic research review.

Many clinical psychologists and scientists have recognized that ordinary «talk» therapy may not be sufficient to treat traumatized patients. Mind-body therapies, such as somatic psychology and eastern traditions like yoga and mindfulness, view the body and the mind as interconnected. These traditions treat mental illnesses in a more holistic way recognizing the importance of also healing the mind through the body (Caplan, Portillo, & Seeley, 2013; Ogden et al., 2006; Van der Kolk, 2006). In this perspective trauma treatment is not about treating an abnormal state of mind but rather increase internal awarness, insight and acceptance (Briere, 2015). The field of neurobilogy has contributed to the latest understanding of trauma, especially regarding the acknowledgement of how essential bodily and sensational issues are to trauma patients. In effect, trauma treatment should involve a more focus on the body together with the cognitive and emotional aspects (Van der Kolk, 2006). Yoga may be an effective, available and low-cost intervention which can be used in addition to ordinary psychotherapy, or on it’s own as an alternative to wait-list or non-therapy.

The aim of this review is to qualitative review the effectiveness of yoga in the treatment of trauma, and to evaluate the quality of included studies. The review will also include reflections on how future studies should be conducted to enhance the understanding of yoga in the treatment of trauma.