Oriental medical interventions for posttraumatic stress disorder: A model of Oriental medicine for disaster mental health

Citation (APA style): Kwon, Y-J., & Cho, S-H. (2011). Oriental medical interventions for posttraumatic stress disorder: A model of Oriental medicine for disaster mental health. Journal of Oriental Neuropsychiatry, 22(4), 77-86.


Objectives: Rates of assault as well as natural and human disasters are increasing. In Korea, however, Oriental medicine PTSD treatment research has been limited to motor vehicle accident survivors. Our objective is to develop a model for the application of evidence-based Oriental medicine interventions for PTSD to a wide spectrum of traumatic disasters.

Methods: An online search was performed for Korean research in Oriental medicine journals. International studies were sourced from Pubmed and the US Department of Veterans Affairs. We sorted studies into Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) and non-RCTs, and further analyzed them by the elapsed time from traumatic exposure to treatment. 

Results: We confirmed that acupuncture, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and progressive muscular relaxation (PMR) were effective in the acute stages immediately after a traumatic event. We further determined that Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and relaxation therapy were efficacious in the chronic stages. Building on these findings, we propose a model of Oriental Medicine for disaster mental health.

Conclusions: An analysis of research into Oriental medicine shows that the above evidence-based interventions are efficacious for different stages of PTSD treatment. Oriental medicine is an appropriate mental health intervention in disasters.

Keywords: posttraumatic stress disorder, PTSD, Oriental medicine, disaster mental health

Click here to view the abstract on the journal website


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