Eye movement desensitization in fibromyalgia:  A pilot study


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of eye movement desensitization (EMD) for the relief of pain, fatigue and anxiety and depression in fibromyalgia patients. Six Caucasian female patients (mean age=43.2 yr) participated in two treatment sessions. Outcome assessments included the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, Fatigue Scale, Beck Anxiety Inventory, and Beck Depression Inventory. In-session process measures included thermal biofeedback monitoring and subjective units of discomfort ratings of pain, stress, and fatigue. Four out of six subjects were considered treatment responders. Thermal biofeedback monitoring revealed an average increase in hand temperature of 5.4 degrees indicating a relaxation effect. At treatment termination, average scores decreased on the measures of anxiety (28.6%), depression (29.9%), fibromyalgia impact (12.6%), and fatigue (11.5%). At the 3-month follow-up assessment, total reductions in average scores from pre-treatment baseline reflected further improvements on measures of anxiety (45.8%), depression (31.6%), fibromyalgia impact (19.2%), and fatigue (26.7%). Because EMD produced a somewhat automatic relaxation response with minimal patient participation, it may be especially useful when standard relaxation techniques fail.






Fred Friedberg

Original Work Citation

Friedberg, F. (2004, November). Eye movement desensitization in fibromyalgia: A pilot study. Complementary Therapies in Nursing and Midwifery, 10(4), 245-249. doi:10.1016/j.ctnm.2004.06.006



“Eye movement desensitization in fibromyalgia:  A pilot study,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed July 23, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/15409.

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