Meditation and Exercise Therapy Can Help Women Recover From Sexual Assault

A study by researchers at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, finds that women who are sexually assaulted and suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can learn to decrease negative thoughts and enhance self-worth by a combination of meditation and aerobic exercise. The researchers found that the combination of meditation and exercise was better therapy than either of these activities alone.

The study determined that a combination of mental and physical training, with meditation and aerobic exercise, done for one-hour twice a week over a six-week period, significantly reduced post-traumatic and ruminative thoughts in women with a history of sexual violence.

Tracey Shors, distinguished professor in the department of psychology and Center for Collaborative Neuroscience at Rutgers, and the lead author of the study, stated that “despite the undeniable connection between sexual trauma and mental illness, few interventions are tailored for women who experience sexual violence. “The #MeToo movement and other platforms have provided women with an opportunity to tell their stories of sexual harassment and assault. It is important that we also provide them with new ways to help them recover from these experiences.”

Dr. Shors received a master’s degree and a doctorate from University of Southern California, with postdoctoral training in neurophysiology and processes of learning.

The full study, “Meditation Plus Aerobic Exercise Lessens Trauma of Sexual Violence More Than Either Activity Alone,” was published on the website of the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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