Carolyn C. Stoller, Jon H. Greuel, Lucy S. Cimini, Mary S. Fowler, Jane A. Koomar; Effects of Sensory-Enhanced Yoga on Symptoms of Combat Stress in Deployed Military Personnel. Am J Occup Ther 2012;66(1):59-68. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2012.001230.
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© 2014 American Occupational Therapy Association
OBJECTIVE. We examined the effects of sensory-enhanced hatha yoga on symptoms of combat stress in deployed military personnel, compared their anxiety and sensory processing with that of stateside civilians, and identified any correlations between the State–Trait Anxiety Inventory scales and the Adolescent/Adult Sensory Profile quadrants.
METHOD. Seventy military personnel who were deployed to Iraq participated in a randomized controlled trial. Thirty-five received 3 wk (≥9 sessions) of sensory-enhanced hatha yoga, and 35 did not receive any form of yoga.
RESULTS. Sensory-enhanced hatha yoga was effective in reducing state and trait anxiety, despite normal pretest scores. Treatment participants showed significantly greater improvement than control participants on 16 of 18 mental health and quality-of-life factors. We found positive correlations between all test measures except sensory seeking. Sensory seeking was negatively correlated with all measures except low registration, which was insignificant.
CONCLUSION. The results support using sensory-enhanced hatha yoga for proactive combat stress management.
For each of the four quadrants of the AASP—sensory sensitivity, sensory avoidance, low registration, and sensory seeking—is the mean amount of normalization from pretest to posttest in the treatment group significantly greater than that in the control group? (The terms normalize and normalization indicate scores moving toward the standardized norms on the AASP.)
For each of the two state–trait scales of the STAI, does the mean change from pretest to posttest in the treatment group indicate a significantly greater decrease in anxiety than the mean change from pretest to posttest in the control group?
With consideration of the AASP’s four quadrants, is the mean for the deployed military personnel less than the mean for the established norm for sensory seeking and greater than the mean for the established norms for sensory sensitivity, sensory avoidance, and low registration?
For each of the STAI’s two scales, is the mean for the deployed military personnel higher than the established population norm?
For deployed military personnel, with consideration of the STAI’s two scales and the AASP’s four quadrants, are sensory sensitivity, sensory avoidance, low registration, state anxiety, and trait anxiety positively correlated with one another, and is sensory seeking negatively correlated with these other five measures?
Sensory-enhanced hatha yoga can be an effective treatment modality for reducing hyperarousal and improving self-regulation in adult populations,
The treatment shows potential to effectively address symptoms of combat stress before they develop into full-blown PTSD, and
The proactive treatment of combat stress may prevent the onset of the occupational dysfunction that can accompany PTSD.
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