Table 2

Details on therapeutic techniques and co-therapies of the studies analysed

Author (Reference)

Types and duration of treatment in hypnosis/guided imagery group

Types and duration of treatment in controls

Comedication allowed Other cotherapies Side effects reported

Alvarez [23]

Ericksonian hypnosis, individual:

Induction NR; 5 techniques could be used for utilisation: transformation of pain or emotion; metaphors; dissociation of pain; perceptions of other body sensations; pleasant imagery; posthypnotic suggestions of negative hallucinations and amnesia of pain

60 min, 6- 8 sessions over 6 months

Total: 420 min

Cognitive intervention: Sham hypnosis, individual: General issues talking with the therapist; physical sign check list to verify that the patients were not in hypnotic trance *

60 min, 6- 8 sessions over 6 months

Total: 420 min

NSAIDs, amitriptyline, physiotherapy kept stable during study *


4/20 with hypnosis drop out lack of efficacy

7/20 with sham hypnosis drop out lack of efficacy

Castel [24]

CBT plus standardised hypnosis; group: Induction by fixation and palpepral catalepsy; deepening by visualisation; suggestion of an analgesic stream eliminating pain and creating feelings of well-being; posthypnotic suggestions NR

90 min (of which 20 min hypnosis) for 12 weeks; daily home training with audiocasettes recommended

Total: 1080 min

Active control: CBT; group. Information in FMS, cognitive restructuring, assertiveness training, behavioral goal setting, problems solving;

90 min (of which 20 min relaxation training) for 12 weeks

Total: 1080 min

Study arm treatment as usual not used for comparison

Analgesics, antidepressants, sedatives, myorelaxants



Grøndahl [25]

Standardised hypnosis, individual: Relaxation, visualisation of positive body experience; suggestion of increase of self-efficacy, posthypnotic suggestions NR

10 wks, 1/week, 30 min

Total: 300 min

Treatment as usual: Medication and physiotherapy or chiropractic therapy

Total Min NR

Medication and physiotherapy or chiropractic therapy



Haanen [26]

Standardised hypnosis, individual and daily audiocassette: Induction by arm levitation; suggestions of ego-strengthening, pain control and improvement sleep; posthypnotic suggestions NR

8 × 60 min over 3 months; daily home training

Total: 360 min (without home training)

Active control

Physical therapy: Massage and muscle relaxation 1-2 h/week over 12 weeks

Total: 720-1440 min

Only paracetamol allowed



Menziers [27]

Standardised guided imagery, indvidual, at home:

3 standardised audio cassettes: Relaxation, signal breath to elicit relaxation; imagination of pleasant scene; suggestions of feeling of well-being and actions and behaviors free of FMS-symptoms

30 min daily for 6 weeks recommended

Total: Median of 44 (range 37-136) exercises

Treatment as usual

Total Min NR

Treatment as usual



Rucco [28]

Ericksonian hypnosis, individual: Metaphors for induction, Utilisation: identification and solution of intrapsychic conflicts; posthypnotic suggestions NR

Frequency of sessions individualised over 6 months

Active control: Autogenic training in group

Practice: 8 weeks, twice a week, 15 min;

Recommendation of daily practice over 6 months

Total: 240 min

No comedication allowed



* Details provided on request; NR = Not reported and not provided on request

Bernardy et al. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2011 12:133   doi:10.1186/1471-2474-12-133

Open Data