Post traumatic stress disorder: How Yoga and physiotherapy can help in PTSD

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
Jul 19, 2023 03:33 PM IST

Health experts reveal how Yoga and physiotherapy can help in recovering from post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD

A traumatic event can cause a person to experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a mental health condition that is characterised by signs like anxiety, intrusive thoughts, nightmares and flashbacks. While therapy and medication are frequently used as traditional PTSD treatments, health experts insist that complementary modalities like Yoga and physiotherapy have shown promise in helping people manage their symptoms.

Post traumatic stress disorder: How Yoga and physiotherapy can help in PTSD (Shutterstock)
Post traumatic stress disorder: How Yoga and physiotherapy can help in PTSD (Shutterstock)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Amit Deshpande, Founder and Director of Activist, shared, “Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating mental health condition that can occur after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. Fortunately, Yoga and physiotherapy offer promising avenues for healing and managing PTSD symptoms. Yoga provides a holistic approach by combining physical postures, breathing exercises and meditation, helping to regulate the nervous system and reduce anxiety and stress.”

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He gushed, “The mindful movements and deep breathing foster a sense of calmness and self-awareness, enhancing emotional resilience. Physiotherapy, on the other hand, focuses on restoring physical function and mobility through targeted exercises and manual therapy. It can address physical symptoms associated with trauma, such as muscle tension and pain. Additionally, both yoga and physiotherapy offer a safe and supportive environment, fostering a sense of community and connection, which can aid in the recovery process.”

Dr Rajeev Rajesh, Chief Yoga Officer at Jindal Naturecure Institute in Banglore, explained, “Yoga is a mind-body discipline with its roots in the ancient Indian subcontinent. It combines physical postures, breathing techniques and meditation. It has been discovered to be successful in lowering anxiety, enhancing sleep, and fostering general wellbeing. Yoga can give people with PTSD a safe place to re-connect with their body and process their trauma in a nurturing setting. Yoga's physical asanas and deliberate breathing techniques work to control the autonomic nervous system, lowering hyperarousal and enhancing relaxation. Additionally, yoga's emphasis on mindfulness encourages people to be in the present moment, which helps to lessen intrusive thoughts and improve self-awareness.”

He added, “On the other hand, physiotherapy focuses on enhancing functional movement and physical rehabilitation. Physiotherapy can help people with PTSD deal with the somatic symptoms, chronic pain, and other physical effects of trauma. Physiotherapy can assist people in releasing tension, restoring proper movement patterns, and improving body awareness through a variety of techniques like manual therapy, exercise, and body awareness training. Physiotherapy can indirectly reduce psychological distress and improve general wellbeing by addressing physical symptoms. Yoga and physiotherapy both provide holistic approaches to healing and can support existing PTSD treatments. It is crucial to remember that these methods might not be appropriate for everyone and should only be used under the supervision of trained experts. However, incorporating yoga and physical therapy into PTSD treatment plans can give patients more coping skills and tools to manage their symptoms and enhance their quality of life.”

Bringing his expertise to the same, Dr Sumit Gupta PT, HOD- Department of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation at Regency Health, highlighted that PTSD can also increase stress and anxiety leading to tension in the body but revealed how Yoga and physiotherapy is very helpful to prevent this condition:

1. So many time patient complaint pain. Physiotherapist set goals. Strengthening exercise, stability exercise, joint mobilisation, needling and motion exercise is help to reduce pain.

2. Breathing exercise - Physiotherapist can give their patient different breathing exercise (deep breathing, chest mobilisation, diaphragmatic breathing) which help to reduce stress or anxiety.

3.Anxiety-regular exercise is an effective method in management anxiety and stress follow a prescribe exercise plan will allow the body to release chemical that can help in reducing stress and anxiety.

He listed the benefits of regular exercise on PTSD symptoms as:

  • A few positive results physiotherapy can have on your physical health including generate mobility and flexibility increase strength weight loss and improvement in cardiovascular health.
  • Regular exercise can also have a positive effect on your mental health through the reduce the of depression and anxiety feelings.

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