News Update: Home-based guided imagery improves abdominal pain

November 1, 2009

Chronic abdominal pain is a common problem in children, but a recent study demonstrated that the use of home-based guided imagery can alleviate pain and improve quality of life in these patients

Chronic abdominal pain is a common problem in children, but a recent study demonstrated that the use of home-based guided imagery can alleviate pain and improve quality of life in these patients.

In the November 2009 issue of Pediatrics, researchers reported on the use of a home-based, guided imagery treatment protocol using audio and video recordings for the treatment of functional abdominal pain in children. Thirty-four children aged 6 to 15 years were treated with standard medical care with or without the addition of home-based, guided imagery treatment, which included a 25-minute instructional DVD, supplemented with written instructions for parents, and 3 biweekly sessions via CDs. Guided imagery treatment materials were designed to be understood by patients as young as 6 years old and to be self-explanatory.

Significantly more patients treated with guided imagery were responded to treatment versus those treated with medical care only. When children treated with medical care only were then directed to add guided imagery after 2 months, the percentage of treatment responders jumped from 26.7% to 61.5%. Throughout the study, the majority of children listened to the CDs more often than was required and reported enjoying the sessions.