Meditate

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