HealthDay News — Mindfulness-based stretching and deep-breathing exercises may reduce the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)-like symptoms in individuals with subclinical features of PTSD, results from a small study indicate.
“[A]fter participation in an eight-week mind-body exercise intervention, participants experienced normalization in basal serum cortisol concentration with concurrent reduction in PTSD symptom severity,” Sang Hwan Kim, PhD, of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues reported in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
They randomly assigned 22 nurses with PTSD symptoms to a twice-weekly 60-minute mindfulness-based stretching and deep-breathing exercise session for eight weeks or a control group. The civilian version of the PTSD Checklist (PCL-C) and serum cortisol levels were assessed at baseline and at four, eight and 16 weeks.
The researchers observed significant mean differences at eight weeks compared with baseline for decreases in PCL-C scores (13.6) and increases in serum cortisol levels (5.8) for the intervention group compared with the control group. No other significant differences were detected between the groups. The changes in PCL-C scores and serum cortisol levels in the intervention group were maintained at 16 weeks.