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Systematic Review Shows Guided Imagery Effective with Rheumatoid Arthritis

13 Aug

Investigators from West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV, conducted a systematic review of RCTs that have examined the effects of guided imagery on pain, function, and other outcomes such as anxiety, depression, and quality of life in adults with arthritis and other rheumatic diseases or AORD.

Ten electronic bibliographic databases were searched for reports of RCTs published between 1960 and 2013. Selection criteria included adults with AORD who participated in RCTs that used guided imagery as a partial or sole intervention strategy.

Risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias Assessment Instrument. Results were synthesized qualitatively.

Seven studies representing 306 enrolled and 287 completers (participants who saw the interventions through to the end) met inclusion criteria. The average age of the participants was 62.9 years (standard deviation = 12.2).

All interventions used guided imagery that was delivered via audio technology. The interventions ranged from a one-time exposure to 16 weeks in duration. Risk of bias was low or unclear in all but one study.

All studies reported statistically significant improvements in the observed outcomes.

The investigators conclude that guided imagery appears to be beneficial for adults with AORD.

Citation: Giacobbi PR Jr1, Stabler ME2, Stewart J2, Jaeschke AM2, Siebert JL2, Kelley GA2. Guided Imagery for Arthritis and Other Rheumatic Diseases: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials. Pain Management Nursing. 2015 Jul 11. pii: S1524-9042(15)00011-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pmn.2015.01.003. [Epub ahead of print] This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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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.