2011 Systematic Review on Guided Imagery

Reference:Posadzki P, Ernst E. Guided imagery for musculoskeletal pain: a systematic review. Clin J Pain. 2011 Sep;27(7):648-53.

Guided imagery (GI) involves the use of conscious and directed thoughts and suggestions that guide ones imagination toward a relaxed, focused state. GI is sometimes considered a form of hypnotherapy. The process may involve an instructor such as a psychologist, CD, or a script.

GI is based on the concept that our body and mind are connected and by using our senses, the body seems to respond as though what we are imagining is real. (I certainly accept that!)

GI has been used to lower blood pressure by reducing stress and promoting relaxation. GI has also been used to manage musculoskeletal pain and promote healing.

This systematic review included 9 of the best quality RCTs looking at the effectiveness of guided GI on musculoskeletal pain. Of the 9 RCTs, 8 supported the use of GI and one did not.

The authors conclude, “…the evidence that GI alleviates musculoskeletal pain is encouraging but inconclusive.”

Considering the safety of GI, I strongly recommend it to some patients with persistent pain. One easy way to try GI is by listening to the “Relaxation CD” by Debbie Patterson, PT, which is available on iTunes. It?s a must for patients who can?t sleep.

Another easy option is to go on Youtube and type in “Guided Imagery” and simply close your eyes, relax and listen to one of the dozens of available videos.

Posted on: December 16, 2012

Categories: Fascinating Pain Studies

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