At the research center, Kristen Walter is conducting DoD's first research study of its kind on the psychological and physical effects of a surf therapy program for patients with post-traumatic stress disorder and other issues. Almost 70 active duty and reserve component patients from all service branches, primarily the Marine Corps and the Navy, participated in the study.
“Initial results suggest that both PTSD and depression symptoms improve for those affected with the disorders,” Walter said. “We’ve also found our strongest effects are improvements in positive effect and decreases in negative effect. We assess individuals before and after each surf therapy session.”
After this first study, she added, she and her team will look into not only the effects not only of surfing therapy, but also of hiking and other recreational therapies that would be accessible for more patients. She said she has personally noticed the change in the patients.