Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
KPBS Evening Edition

Study Shows Combat Troops With PTSD Respond To Healing Touch Therapy

PTSD Study on Touch Therapy

A two-year study conducted in San Diego shows promising results for combat troops suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It combines healing touch with visualization to significantly reduce the symptoms of PTSD.

The study was done on 123 Marines from Camp Pendleton from July 2008 to August 2010.


"It was a little bit tricky because we're talking about active Marines, men and women who would be coming and going and being deployed," Dr. Mimi Guarneri said. She's been combining Western and Eastern medicine for more than 20 years at the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine in La Jolla. They conducted the study after hearing from Camp Pendleton, she said.

"They wanted some assistance in helping with post traumatic stress disorder. And as many of us know, we have great medications and things that we can do, but they felt like they really needed something more," Guarneri said.

So the Marines were selected at random and split into two groups. One received treatment as usual for symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares and insomnia. The other group got healing touch therapy combined with soothing music.

Guarneri said after six sessions over three weeks, they saw a significant change in the Marines who got the alternative treatment. This therapy is also combined with clinical counseling patients receive to work through the symptoms of PTSD.

Guarneri hopes more research is done on healing touch because they've been observing the benefits for more than 20 years at Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine. The study was published in the September issue of Military Medicine.