Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Nursing in Richmond, VA, studied the efficacy of guided imagery on 72 women diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The 10-week randomized trial looked at the impact of guided imagery on self-efficacy, perceived stress, and selected bio-behavioral factors - FMS symptoms and immune biomarkers.
Participants in both the guided imagery(GI) group and in the treatment as usual (TAU) control condition, completed measurement questionnaires and donated 3 cc of blood at baseline, at six and at 10 weeks.

Analysis to determine differences between groups for all behavioral and biologic variables (mixed effects linear model) demonstrated that after 10 weeks of daily intervention use, guided imagery participants reported statistically significant increases in self-efficacy and statistically significant decreases in stress, fatigue, pain, and depression.

There were no statistically significant changes in biomarker levels, although total group C-reactive protein was elevated at baseline (4.7 mg/L), indicating an inflammatory process.

Subsequent studies should be undertaken to more fully elucidate the biobehavioral aspects of nonpharmacological intervention effectiveness.

Citation:  Menzies V, Lyon DE, Elswick RK Jr, McCain NL, Gray DP. Effects of guided imagery on biobehavioral factors in women with fibromyalgia. J Behav Med. 2012 Nov 3. [Epub ahead of print] [email protected]