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Guided Imagery Improves Pain, Sleep, Quality of Life

20 Sep

Researchers from the Department of Psychology at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University in Bundoor, Australia presented the results of a small pilot study (N=19) that examined the efficacy of a 6-week, combined progressive relaxation technique (APRT) and guided imagery (GI) intervention, to help with the management of chronic pain. 

Results indicated consistent and clinically significant improvement on pain (measures were the McGill Pain Questionnaire and a visual analog scale), mental health (the Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale), all domains of quality of life (the RAND-36 Health Survey), and sleep, for the treatment group only. 

Owing to the small sample size, the study had inadequate power for achieving statistical significance - the investigators recommend sample sizes for future clinical trials.  But the investigators conclude that there is strong preliminary evidence for the efficacy of APRT and GI as an adjunct to conventional treatment options for chronic pain.

Citation:  Chen YL, Francis AJ. Relaxation and imagery for chronic, nonmalignant pain: effects on pain symptoms, quality of life, and mental health. Pain Manag Nurs. 2010 Sep;11(3):159-68. Epub 2009 Sep 8.