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Efficacy and safety of meditative movement therapies in fibromyalgia syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

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A systematic review with meta-analysis of the efficacy and safety of meditative movement therapies (Qigong, Tai Chi and Yoga) in fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) was carried out. We screened Clinicaltrials.Gov, Cochrane Library, PsycINFO, PubMed and Scopus (through December 2010) and the reference sections of original studies for meditative movement therapies (MMT) in FMS. Randomized controlled trials (RCT) comparing MMT to controls were analysed. Outcomes of efficacy were pain, sleep, fatigue, depression and health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Effects were summarized using standardized mean differences (SMD [95% confidence interval]). Outcomes of safety were drop out because of adverse events and serious adverse events. A total of 7 out of 117 studies with 362 subjects and a median of 12 sessions (range 8–24) were included. MMT reduced sleep disturbances (−0.61 [−0.95, −0.27]; 0.0004), fatigue (−0.66 [−0.99, −0.34]; <0.0001), depression (−0.49 [−0.76, −0.22]; 0.0004) and limitations of HRQOL (−0.59 [−0.93, −0.24]; 0.0009), but not pain (−0.35 [−0.80, 0.11]; 0.14) compared to controls at final treatment. The significant effects on sleep disturbances (−0.52 [−0.97, −0.07]; 0.02) and HRQOL (−0.66 [−1.31, −0.01]; 0.05) could be maintained after a median of 4.5 (range 3–6) months. In subgroup analyses, only Yoga yielded significant effects on pain, fatigue, depression and HRQOL at final treatment. Drop out rate because of adverse events was 3.1%. No serious adverse events were reported. MMT are safe. Yoga had short-term beneficial effects on some key domains of FMS. There is a need for high-quality studies with larger sample sizes to confirm the results.

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Fibromyalgia syndrome


Meditative movement therapies


Body awareness therapies


Complementary and alternative medicine


Randomized controlled trials


Health-related quality of life


Standardized mean differences


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J.L. has received congress travel grant by Eli Lilly. K.B. has received congress travel grant by Pfizer. W.H. has received honoraria for educational lectures from Eli Lilly, Janssen-Cilag and Mundipharma, consulting fees from Eli Lilly and Pfizer, and a congress travel grant by Eli Lilly.

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Correspondence to Jost Langhorst.

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Langhorst, J., Klose, P., Dobos, G.J. et al. Efficacy and safety of meditative movement therapies in fibromyalgia syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Rheumatol Int 33, 193–207 (2013).

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