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A Review of Guided Imagery and Fatigue Studies

14 Aug

The purpose of this review was to explore the research literature related to the use of guided imagery as a nonpharmacological mind-body intervention for the symptom of fatigue.  Investigators used the electronic databases of MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsychInfo, Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection and the Cochrane Library, searching from January 1980 to June 2010.

Of the 24 articles retrieved, only eight met the inclusion criteria and were included in this systematic literature review. Findings were inconsistent regarding the effectiveness of guided imagery on fatigue. Studies varied in study length, duration of the applied guided imagery intervention, dosage, and whether the images were targeted to the purpose of the intervention.

The investigators summarize that because guided imagery is a simple, low-cost intervention with strong potential to effectively treat fatigue, further research is warranted, using systematic, well-designed methodologies. There is a need to standardize the imagery interventions by duration of exposure and by targeted content, as applied to a variety of populations. The study designs need to be adequately powered to yield reliable data.  The belief is that this will contribute to and strengthen the symptom-management toolkit of resources that nurses can use for their patients.

Menzies V, Jallo N. Guided Imagery as a Treatment Option for Fatigue: A Literature Review. Journal of Holistic Nursing. 2011 Jul 19. [Epub ahead of print]

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award