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Eur J Pain. 2017 Feb;21(2):217-227. doi: 10.1002/ejp.933. Epub 2016 Nov 29.

Efficacy, acceptability and safety of guided imagery/hypnosis in fibromyalgia - A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

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Department of Anaesthesiology, Universitätsklinikum Regensburg, Germany.
Department Pain Therapy, Berufsgenossenschaftliches Universitätsklinikum Bergmannsheil GmbH Bochum, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany.
Department Internal Medicine I, Klinikum Saarbrücken, Germany.
Department Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Technische Universität München, Germany.


This systematic review aimed at evaluating the efficacy, acceptability and safety of guided imagery/hypnosis (GI/H) in fibromyalgia. Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, PsycINFO and SCOPUS were screened through February 2016. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing GI/H with controls were analysed. Primary outcomes were ≥50% pain relief, ≥20% improvement of health-related quality of life, psychological distress, disability, acceptability and safety at end of therapy and 3-month follow-up. Effects were summarized by a random effects model using risk differences (RD) or standardized mean differences (SMD) with 95% confidence intervals (CI).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 [RD 0.18 (95% CI 0.02, 0.35)] and psychological distress [SMD -0.40 (95% CI -0.70, -0.11)] at the end of therapy. Acceptability at the end of treatment for GI/H was not significantly different to the control. Two RCTs with 95 subjects were included in the comparison of hypnosis combined with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) versus CBT alone. Combined therapy was superior to CBT alone in reducing psychological distress at the end of therapy [SMD -0.50 (95% CI -0.91, -0.09)]. There were no statistically significant differences between combined therapy and CBT alone in other primary outcomes at the end of treatment and follow-up. No study reported on safety. GI/H hold promise in a multicomponent management of fibromyalgia.


We provide a systematic review with meta-analysis on guided imagery and hypnosis for fibromyalgia. Current analyses endorse the efficacy and tolerability of guided imagery/hypnosis and of the combination of hypnosis with cognitive-behavioural therapy in reducing key symptoms of fibromyalgia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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