Meditation involves focusing your mind to pay attention only to what's happening right now, this moment. If you're not sure about meditation, try paced breathing — controlled breathing designed to lower your heart rate. Or listen to a CD designed to help you relax and ease into a more mindful state.
Try guided imagery
With guided imagery, you focus on pleasant images to replace stressful or negative thoughts. This allows you to imagine a different internal reality. This can be guided by a practitioner, or you can do it at home using a CD, DVD or phone app.
Get a massage
Massage therapy has been widely used as a complementary and alternative treatment for fibromyalgia. Most of the studies have found that massage therapy significantly improves pain, anxiety and depression in people with fibromyalgia.
But not everyone finds massage helpful. For some people, massage may make their pain worse.
If you'd like to try massage, find a therapist you like and who is familiar with fibromyalgia. The massage therapist may need to start with very gentle massage and work up to a greater intensity for your comfort.
Your doctor, physical therapist or other health care providers may be able to suggest reputable therapists in your area. Be sure to check with your insurance plan to see if massage therapy is covered.
Focus on something meaningful to you
Volunteer for a cause you care about. Read to nursing home residents or young children in child care. Or, ask your local animal shelter if they need any assistance.
Focusing on others can help take your mind off your symptoms for a little while, and you may find the experience very rewarding.
Explore your options
Because fibromyalgia can't be cured, it's important to have a variety of strategies for dealing with your symptoms. If you haven't already, talk with your doctor or other health care provider about nondrug self-care strategies.
Not all therapies will help everyone, of course. Experiment and see what works for you.
April 18, 2017
See more In-depth
- Kodner C. Common questions about the diagnosis and management of fibromyalgia. American Family Physician. 2015;91:472.
- Picard LM, et al. Music as a sleep aid in fibromyalgia. Pain Research and Management. 2014;19:97.
- Linnemann A, et al. The effects of music listening on pain and stress in the daily life of patients with fibromyalgia syndrome. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 2015;9:434.
- Dunbar RI, et al. Social laughter is correlated with an elevated pain threshold. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 2012;279:1161.
- Fibromyalgia: In depth. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/pain/fibromyalgia.htm. Accessed Feb. 24, 2017.
- Li G, et al. Effects of Tai Chi on health related quality of life in patients with chronic conditions: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 2014;22:743.
- Menzies V. Fibromyalgia syndrome: Current considerations in symptom management. American Journal of Nursing. 2016;116:24.
- Li Y, et al. Massage therapy for fibromyalgia: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. PLOS One. 2014;9:1.