Research suggests that tai chi — a practice originating in China that involves moving the body slowly, gently and with awareness — may provide a benefit to patients with fibromyalgia. Yoga and the Chinese healing art of qi gong, which combines meditation, controlled breathing and movement exercises, have also shown promise.
Not a yogi? 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 meditative state.
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 seems to make their pain worse.
If you'd like to try massage, find a therapist you like and who is familiar with fibromyalgia. Your doctor, physical therapist or other health care providers may be able to suggest reputable therapists in your area.
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 incorporating nonpharmacologic self-care strategies into your treatment plan. Not all therapies will help everyone, of course. Experiment and see what works for you.
April 28, 2014
See more In-depth
- Assessment and management of chronic pain. Bloomington, Minn.: Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement. https://www.icsi.org/. Accessed April 8, 2014.
- Fibromyalgia and Complementary Health Approaches. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/pain/fibromyalgia.htm. Accessed April 8, 2014.
- Barbara Woodward Lips Patient Education Center. Fibromyalgia: The road to wellness. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2013.
- Garza-Villarreal EA, et al. Music reduces pain and increases functional mobility in fibromyalgia. Frontiers in Psychology. In press. Accessed April 8, 2014.
- Li Y, et al. Massage therapy for fibromyalgia: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. PLoS One. 2014;9:e89304.
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- Saad M, et al. Complementary therapies for fibromyalgia syndrome: A rational approach. Current Pain and Headache Reports. 2013;17:354.
- Luedtke CA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 9, 2014.