Integrative Body-Mind-Spirit (I-BMS) Interventions for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A Review of the Outcome Literature

Document Type


Publication Date




Background: A growing interest in integrative body-mind-spirit (I-BMS) approaches to treatment of PTSD has resulted in a significant increase in related research. Method: This study conducted a synthesized review of randomized controlled trials of I-BMS treatments for PTSD, yielding thirteen studies that included: mindfulness/meditation (7), yoga (3), acupuncture (1), spiritually-based intervention (1), and relaxation (1) from 2004–2015. The study used a modified Delphi List (mDL) and the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse (CEBC) to evaluate study rigor and level of research support for each practice. Results: Overall, I-BMS interventions demonstrated positive outcomes. Based on an mDL range between 0 and 7, scores were: 6 for meditation/mindfulness, 5.67 for yoga, 7 for acupuncture, 3 for spiritually-based intervention, and 4.5 for relaxation training. All interventions were recommended as practices with Promising Research Evidence (Level 3). Effect sizes (d) ranged from .51 to 1.88 for relaxation, .38 to 1.02 for spiritual, .31 to 1.4 for acupuncture, .1 to 1.54 for yoga and .2 to 1.53 for mindfulness meditation. Discussion: This study identified acupuncture, meditation, and yoga as high-quality alternative therapeutic practices for PTSD with promising evidence as effective and safe approaches. Future studies should assess long-term effects to further elevate the level of research support.