Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms: A Systematic Review

Helané Wahbeh, Angela Senders, Rachel Neuendorf, Julien Cayton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Objectives. To (1) characterize complementary and alternative medicine studies for posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms, (2) evaluate the quality of these studies, and (3) systematically grade the scientific evidence for individual CAM modalities for posttraumatic stress disorder. Design. Systematic review. Eight data sources were searched. Selection criteria included any study design assessing posttraumatic stress disorder outcomes and any complementary and alternative medicine intervention. The body of evidence for each modality was assessed with the Natural Standard evidence-based, validated grading rationale. Results and Conclusions. Thirty-three studies (n = 1329) were reviewed. Scientific evidence of benefit for posttraumatic stress disorder was strong for repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation and good for acupuncture, hypnotherapy, meditation, and visualization. Evidence was unclear or conflicting for biofeedback, relaxation, Emotional Freedom and Thought Field therapies, yoga, and natural products. Considerations for clinical applications and future research recommendations are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-175
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • complementary and alternative medicine
  • posttraumatic stress disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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