Because recent systematic reviews of “psychological” therapies for fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) did not include hypnosis/guided imagery (H/GI), the authors performed a meta-analysis of the efficacy of H/GI in FMS.

Looking at outcomes for pain, sleep, fatigue, depressed mood and health-related quality of life, six clinical trials with a total of 239 subjects were analyzed.  (The median # of Hypnosis/Guided Imagery sessions was nine, and the median number of patients in the groups was 20. Three studies performed follow-ups).

The hypnosis/guided imagery groups did significantly better than the controls at reducing pain at time of final treatment (p= 0.03).

However, there was no evidence that H/GI significantly reduced limitations on health-related quality of life at final treatment (p=0.29) as compared to controls.  Effect sizes on fatigue, sleep and depressed mood at final treatment and follow-up and on pain and HRQOL at follow-up were not calculated because of limited data available.
Further studies are clearly needed with better treatment quality and adequate methodological quality for assessing all key domains of FMS, in order to clarify the efficacy of H/GI in FMS.

Bernardy K, Fuber N, Klose P, Hauser W. Efficacy of hypnosis/guided imagery in fibromyalgia syndrome - a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled trials. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. 2011 Jun 15;12(1):133. [Epub ahead of print]