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Guided Imagery and Massage Benefit Patients’ Post-Op Pain, Sleep, Anxiety

16 Feb

Six critical care nurses from the Beaumont Hospital System in Royal Oak, Michigan examined the impact of guided imagery and clinical massage on the pain,  anxiety and sleep quality of 288 in-patients in 2 floors dedicated to Progressive Care (otherwise known as the Step-Down Unit, a mid-way place between intensive care and regular care on a med-surg floor).   

On one floor, each patient was offered daily a 15-minute complimentary clinical massage On the other floor, patients were offered a 30-minute guided imagery recording.  

Patients were asked to rate their pain and anxiety levels immediately before and after the massage intervention, or were asked whether the guided imagery intervention was helpful for pain, anxiety, or insomnia.

The massage intervention showed an immediate and significant reduction in self-reported pain and anxiety (P < .001); likewise, a significant number of patients self-reported that the guided imagery helped alleviate pain, anxiety, and insomnia (P < .001).

The investigators conclude that clinical massage and guided imagery can benefit patients in progressive care.

Citation: Patricolo GE, LaVoie A, Slavin B, Richards NL, Jagow D, Armstrong K  Beneficial Effects of Guided Imagery or Clinical Massage on the Status of Patients in a Progressive Care Unit. Critical Care Nurse. 2017 Feb;37 (1): pages 62-69. doi: 10.4037/ccn2017282.

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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