Thanks to my friend, Ashley Burns, for her interest in doing a guest blog on PTSD. Ashley is very passionate about alternative therapies that are usually safer and often less costly than traditional treatments for PTSD.

In recent times, the mental health condition post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has gained increased recognition because of its proliferation in those who have experienced war or physical or sexual violence. Traumatic or life-threatening events lead to an increased chance of developing the condition. The experiences often result in a person reliving the painful memories, and feeling all of the emotions and pain associated with the memory, according to the National Center for PTSD. Patients with PTSD also display symptoms of insomnia, a feeling of constant danger, hyperarousal, depression, irritability and more. Medication and psychotherapies are traditionally used for the treatment of PTSD symptoms, but alternative therapies have also been shown to aid in the treatment of PTSD.

People often turn to acupuncture to heal many different ailments, and the treatment has been studied as an option to treat PTSD. Acupuncture involves the insertion of tiny needles in specific parts of the body, and it can aid with various physical and emotional conditions. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a clinical trial conducted by a group of researchers for 12 weeks tested either acupuncture or group cognitive-behavioral therapy as intervention methods for participants who exhibited PTSD symptoms. Another group of participants served as part of the control group and were placed on a waitlist to receive treatment. The researchers found that both acupuncture and group cognitive-behavioral therapies were superior for the participants than a lack of intervention. The researchers suggested others conduct more research on the connection, but say the results of the pilot study reveal acupuncture to be a helpful practice for PTSD symptoms.

General massage therapy and yoga therapy are also picking up steam as treatment options for PTSD, according to an article in Massage Today. In a 2008 study, a clinical psychologist began incorporating these therapies and others into traditional treatment for soldiers diagnosed with PTSD at the Fort Bliss Restoration and Resilience Center. Many Fort Bliss patients felt eager and able to return to service after the treatment. Other unique, introspective therapies like Qigong, a Chinese system that uses physical postures, breathing techniques and intense focus, were practiced by the soldiers with positive results. With the integration of the alternative therapies, the Center was able to scale back the amount of medication prescribed to its patients. The therapies allowed the soldiers to become relaxed and rooted in their present lives.

Since the 1900s, the most common way PTSD has been treated is through medication and forms of individual and group therapy. Surprisingly, alternative methods of treatment, in the forms of acupuncture and massage and yoga therapy, have been shown to be just as effective for some individuals with PTSD. Additionally, the risk of medical malpractice is less worrisome for patients who do choose to undergo alternative methods of treatment.