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Guided Imagery/Hypnosis Reduces Fibromyalgia Pain

09 Mar

Researchers from several German universities conducted a systematic review to evaluate the efficacy, acceptability and safety of guided imagery/hypnosis for fibromyalgia.   

Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing GI/H with controls were analyzed. 

Primary outcomes showed gains in pain relief (≥ 50%), quality of life, psychological distress, disability, acceptability and safety at end of therapy and 3-month follow-up. 

Seven RCTs with 387 subjects were included into a comparison of GI/H versus controls. There was a clinically relevant benefit of GI/H compared to controls on ≥50% pain relief and psychological distress at the end of therapy. 

Acceptability at the end of treatment for GI/H was not significantly different from the controls. 

Two RCTs (Randomized, controlled trials) with 95 subjects were included in the comparison of hypnosis combined with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) versus CBT alone. 

No study reported on safety. 

The analysis concludes that guided imagery/hypnosis holds promise in the multicomponent management of fibromyalgia.

Citation: Zech N, Hansen E, Bernardy K, Häuser W. Efficacy, acceptability and safety of guided imagery/hypnosis in fibromyalgia - A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. European Journal of Pain.  2017 Feb;21(2):217-227. doi: 10.1002/ejp.933. Epub 2016 Nov 29.

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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