Randomized Trial of a Group Music and Imagery Method (grpmi) for Women With Fibromyalgia

Esperanza Torres
Inge N. Pedersen
José I. Pérez-Fernández


Background Fibromyalgia (FM) affects about 2–4% of the world population. Patients, mostly women, experience chronic widespread pain, fatigue, stiffness, sleep disturbances, and psychological disorders, especially depression and anxiety. Objective The aim of this study was to examine preliminary efficacy of a Group Music and Imagery (GrpMI) intervention, which included relaxation, music listening, and spontaneous imagery, to improve subjective psychological well-being, functional capacity and health, pain perception, anxiety, and depression in women with FM. Methods Fifty-six women aged 35 to 65 years (M = 51.3) diagnosed with FM were randomly assigned to either GrpMI treatment (n = 33) or control (n = 26) condition. Experimental group participants received 12 weekly GrpMI sessions, and control group participants who did not receive any additional service completed measures at the same time points as the experimental group. Results Intra-group analyses showed that GrpMI participants had a significant increase in psychological well-being and significant decrease in the impact of FM on functional capacity and health, pain perception, anxiety, and depression post-treatment, with sustained benefit at three-month follow-up for all variables except psychological well-being. Control group participants showed decreases in trait anxiety and depression at post-treatment, with no significant benefit at three-month follow-up. Inter-group analyses showed that compared with control participants, GRpMI participants had significantly higher scores for psychological well-being and lower-state anxiety post-treatment; however, no differences were observed between groups at three-month follow-up. Conclusions Findings offer preliminary evidence for the benefit of GrpMI to improve well-being and reduce anxiety in women with FM. Findings also suggest that GrpMI may help diminish pain intensity, state depression, and the impact of FM on functional capacity and health, but further studies are needed to establish efficacy.