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NEWS ITEMS - Effects of relaxation on FM

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Effect of relaxation in patients with Fibromyalgia: a literature study

Mira Meeus, Jo Nijs, Tanja Vanderheiden, Isabel Baert, Filip Descheemaeker, Filip Struyf

Based on a literature study on the effects of relaxation on symptoms and daily functioning in patients with FM, the authors concluded that:

  • Although strong evidence for the isolated effects of long term relaxation programs is lacking, the acute effect of a single guided imagery session seems beneficial for pain reduction in fibromyalgia. Guided imagery is a program/technique of directed thoughts and suggestions that lead the patients to a state of visualization in order to guide the imagination toward a relaxed, focused state.
    The content of this visualization can vary between pleasant scenes (like vacation scenes) or eg. the visualization of an analgesic running through your veins. The content remains a matter of debate, but probably pleasant visualization (away from the pain) is the best.
  • Also for longer term muscle relaxation programs, it seems that muscle relaxation alone seems less beneficial for pain relief than in combination with other modalities (massage, exercise, biofeedback).

Meeus M, Nijs J, Vanderheiden T, Baert I, Descheemaeker F, Struyf F. The effect of relaxation therapy on autonomic functioning, symptoms and daily functioning, in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia: a systematic review.
Clinical Rehabilitation: 2014, in press.