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Guided Imagery Reduces Stress, Fatigue in Thyroid Cancer Patients

04 Jun

Researchers from Pusan National University in Korea used a pre- and post-test consecutive experimental design to evaluate the effects of guided imagery on stress and fatigue in patients undergoing radioactive iodine therapy following a thyroidectomy.

Eighty-four subjects with thyroid cancer were assigned to either an experimental group (n=44) which received 4 weeks of guided imagery once a day or a treatment as usual group (n=40).

Instruments to measure change consisted of a self-administered Global Assessment of Recent Stress as well as the Revised Piper Fatigue Scale. Heart rate variability was measured at three time points – at recruitment, before treatment began, (T1), just before the intervention (T2) and 1 week after the intervention (T3).

There were significant decreases in stress (F = 28.45, P < 0.001) and fatigue (F = 26.17, P < 0.001) over time in the experimental group, as compared to the treatment as usual control group.

Additionally, heart rate variability changed over time in the experimental group as compared to the control group; SDNN (F = 6.68, P = 0.002), TP (F = 5.29, P = 0.006), LF (F = 4.58, P = 0.012), and HF (F = 3.71, P = 0.026).

The investigators conclude that guided imagery can be recommended as an effective intervention to thyroid cancer patients experiencing stress and fatigue. The full article is available free.

Citation: Lee MH1, Kim DH1, Yu HS2.The effect of guided imagery on stress and fatigue in patients with thyroid cancer undergoing radioactive iodine therapy. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2013;2013:130324. doi: 10.1155/2013/130324. Epub 2013 Nov 24.

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.