Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder are eased by a combination of guided imagery and a specific type of therapy called "Healing Touch," the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine announced Monday.
Results of a study of 123 Marines who returned from deployment to Camp Pendleton between July 2008 and August 2010 were released in the September issue of the publication Military Medicine. Those selected were experiencing traumatic flashbacks, nightmares, emotional numbness, insomnia and other PTSD symptoms.
The 68 participants who went through six sessions over three weeks with Healing Touch and guided imagery fared much better than the 55 who received normal treatment, according to Scripps.
"Scores for PTSD symptoms decreased substantially, about 14 points and below the clinical cutoffs for PTSD," said Dr. Mimi Guarneri, a Center for Integrative Medicine founder. "This indicates that the intervention was not just statistically significant, but actually decreased symptoms below the threshold for PTSD diagnosis. It made a large difference in reducing PTSD symptoms."
According to Scripps, Healing Touch is aimed at eliciting the participant's own healing response by restoring and balancing the human biofield -- or the energy created by the body. It helps patients to relax by reducing pain and anxiety.
Guided imagery uses visualization techniques, prompted by using a compact disc, to accomplish the same tasks, the study's authors said.
Dr. Wayne Jonas, president and chief executive officer of the Samueli Institute, an Alexandria, Va.-based organization that helped with data analysis, said returning troops are looking for alternative treatments that don't involve medications.
The study was funded by The Taylor Family Foundation.