Belgian researchers from the University of Antwerp, the University of Brussels and Artevelde University, Ghent, performed a review of studies investigating the effects of different kinds of relaxation therapy on autonomic function, pain, fatigue and daily functioning of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia.
The electronic databases PubMed and Web of Science were searched. Studies were assessed for their risk of bias and relevant information regarding relaxation was extracted.
Thirteen randomized clinical trials of sufficient quality were included, resulting in a total of 650 fibromyalgia patients (11 studies) and 88 chronic fatigue syndrome patients (3 studies).
Researchers from the Department of Internal and Integrative Medicine, University of Duisburg-Essen in Essen, Germany, performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effectiveness of meditative movement therapies or MMT (Qigong, Tai Chi and Yoga) for fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS).
Data bases were screened for randomized, controlled trials that compared MMT to controls with FMS. Outcomes of efficacy were for pain, sleep, fatigue, depression and health-related quality of life (HRQOL).
A total of 7 out of 117 studies with 362 subjects and a median of 12 sessions (range 8-24) were included.
Investigators from Bright Path Yoga in Plano, Texas discuss the benefits of yoga and meditation for fibromyalgia, a chronic syndrome characterized by widespread pain, sleep disturbance, stiffness, fatigue, headache, and mood disturbance. The author outlines a strategy for using yoga and meditation as a therapy for fibromyalgia sufferers.
A preliminary 8-week study with eleven participants found significant improvement in the overall health status of the participants and in symptoms of stiffness, anxiety, and depression. Significant improvements were also seen in the reported number of days "felt good" and number of days "missed work" because of fibromyalgia.
Researchers from University Medical Center in Freiburg, Germany, investigated the efficacy of an 8 week MBSR intervention (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, a structured training in developing nonjudgmental awareness of moment-to-moment experience) with mindful yoga exercises, on enhanced well being of fibromyalgia patients.
In this 3-armed trial, a total of 177 female patients were randomized to one of the following conditions: (1) MBSR, (2) an active control procedure controlling for nonspecific effects of MBSR, or (3) a wait list.
The major outcome sought was for health-related quality of life (HRQoL) 2 months post-treatment. Secondary outcomes were disorder-specific quality of life, depression, pain, anxiety, somatic complaints, and a proposed index of mindfulness.
Researchers from Barcelona, Spain examined whether a psycho-educational intervention delivered to patients with fibromyalgia (FM) in a primary care setting was more effective than usual care for improving their functional status.
Of the 484 fibromyalgia patients eligible for screening from a database at Viladecans Hospital, 108 patients were randomly assigned to the intervention arm of the study and 108 patients were assigned to usual care. The intervention was made up of nine 2-hour sessions (5 sessions of education and 4 sessions of autogenic relaxation). The patients were assessed before and after the intervention with a battery of instruments (measuring sociodemographic data, medical comorbidities, functional status, trait anxiety, and social desirability).
Because recent systematic reviews of “psychological” therapies for fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) did not include hypnosis/guided imagery (H/GI), the authors performed a meta-analysis of the efficacy of H/GI in FMS.
Looking at outcomes for pain, sleep, fatigue, depressed mood and health-related quality of life, six clinical trials with a total of 239 subjects were analyzed. (The median # of Hypnosis/Guided Imagery sessions was nine, and the median number of patients in the groups was 20. Three studies performed follow-ups).
Researchers from L. Sacco University Hospital in Milan, Italy undertook an updated review of the underlying mechanisms that produce fibromyalgia (FM), and summarize viable treatment options. FM is described as a chronic pain syndrome characterized by widespread pain, fatigue, sleep alterations, and distress.
The authors state that emerging evidence points to problems with augmented pain processing within the central nervous system holding a primary role in the pathophysiology of this disorder.
Recent studies have identified distinct FM subgroups on the basis of clinical, neurochemical, and neuroendocrinological abnormalities. These include increased cerebrospinal fluid levels of substance P; excitatory amino acids; and functional abnormalities in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, as well as in the sympathoadrenal (autonomic nervous) system.
Researchers from Maharishi Ayurveda Health Centre in Lillehammer, Norway, performed a pilot study on 31 women with fibromyalgia, to see whether Ayurvedic treatment improved their condition.
Subjects each received an individually designed Maharishi Vedic physiological purification therapy, personal advice on daily routines and diet (including food intolerance), based on Ayurvedic principles. In addition, four agreed to instruction in TM (Transcendental Meditation) for help with stress, pain management and personal development. Ayurvedic herbal food products were provided for home treatment.
An earlier study by this principal investigator showed that MBSR reduced depressive symptoms in patients with fibromyalgia with gains maintained at two months follow-up (Sephton et al., Arthritis & Rheumatism, 57:77-85, 2007).
This second study explored the effects of MBSR on basal sympathetic (SNS) activation among women with fibromyalgia. Twenty-four participants were tested before and after MBSR for anxiety, depressive symptoms, and SNS activation.
Researchers from the Unidad de Investigació Médica in Merida, Mexico, explored the efficacy of Ericksonian Hypnosis for managing the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Forty-three female fibromyalgia patients were randomly assigned to receive either six months of Ericksonian hypnosis (n = 20) or a sham-hypnosis protocol (n = 23). Each month, measures were taken using the Patient and Physician Global Disease Assessment, a count of tender points, and the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ).