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Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System


News Release - VA doctors study the effects of yoga in Veterans with PTSD

 Department of Veteran's Affairs Logo 

 News Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Karen Collins

July 28, 2011

(504) 565-4988

VA doctors study the effects of yoga in Vets with PTSD

NEW ORLEANS — Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System (SLVHCS) mental health practitioners recently completed a study to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of a yoga program on reducing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in Veterans.

SLVHCS doctors at the mental health clinic on Canal Street in New Orleans partnered with yoga instructors to teach simple and gentle exercises, guided relaxation and breathing exercises to a small test group as therapy for one hour, twice a week for six weeks.

The results of the preliminary study suggest that this yoga program may be an effective complementary therapy for improving PTSD-related symptoms of increased arousal, such as sleep problems.

"It was a small study, but we’re very excited about the results," said Dr. Madeline Uddo, PTSD program team leader with SLVHCS. "The Veterans have been extremely responsive and I believe there is justification to test this program with more participants over longer periods of time to determine if we find the same kind of improvements in a larger study."

The study participants included 10 men and two women, aged 58 to 64. Most were Vietnam Veterans. Many of the participants said they were surprised with the mental and spiritual well-being yoga brings them.

A team of VA researchers and local yoga instructors administered the study. Along with Uddo, Dr. Michelle Hamilton and Dr. Julie Staples were investigators for the VA in this study. Three instructors certified by the Krishnamacharya Healing and Yoga Foundation – Libby Levin, Becky Deano and Tiffany Conner – volunteered their time to lead the yoga classes for the participating Veterans.

"We’re very interested in the outcome and in helping this population," Deano said.

For more information about the SLVHCS PTSD program, log on to the local VA website at, like us on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at