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eCAM 2009;Page 1 of 9 doi:10.1093/ecam/nep125

Original Article

Influence of Craniosacral Therapy on Anxiety, Depression and Quality of Life in Patients with Fibromyalgia

Guillermo A. Matara´ n-Pen˜ arrocha1, Adelaida Marı´a Castro-Sa´ nchez2, Gloria Carballo Garcı´a3, Carmen Moreno-Lorenzo1, Tesifo´ n Parro´ n Carren˜ o4 and Marı´a Dolores Onieva Zafra5

1La Vega Sanitary District (Andalusian Health Public Service), Department of Physical Therapy, University of Granada, 2Department of Physical Therapy, University of Almerı´a, 3Department of Psychology, University of Granada, 4Department of Neurosciences, University of Almerı´a and Department of Nursing and Physical Therapy, University of Almerı´a (UAL), Spain 5

Fibromyalgia is considered as a combination of physical, psychological and social disabilities. The causes of pathologic mechanism underlying fibromyalgia are unknown, but fibromyalgia may lead to reduced quality of life. The objective of this study was to analyze the repercussions of craniosacral therapy on depression, anxiety and quality of life in fibromyalgia patients with painful symptoms. An experimental, double-blind longitudinal clinical trial design was under- taken. Eighty-four patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia were randomly assigned to an inter- vention group (craniosacral therapy) or placebo group (simulated treatment with disconnected ultrasound). The treatment period was 25 weeks. Anxiety, pain, sleep quality, depression and quality of life were determined at baseline and at 10 min, 6 months and 1-year post-treatment. State anxiety and trait anxiety, pain, quality of life and Pittsburgh sleep quality index were significantly higher in the intervention versus placebo group after the treatment period and at the 6-month follow-up. However, at the 1-year follow-up, the groups only differed in the Pittsburgh sleep quality index. Approaching fibromyalgia by means of craniosacral therapy contributes to improving anxiety and quality of life levels in these patients.

Keywords: chronic fatigue syndrome – experimental study – nonblinded randomized controlled trial(s)


There is an increasing interest in the role of psychological factors in fibromyalgia, and studies have been published on associated psychological variables, psychopathological explanations, assessment instruments and psychological intervention programs (1,2). Suhr (2003) considered psychological factors to be important for understand- ing the subjective and objective cognitive disorders of

For reprints and all correspondence: Guillermo A. Mataran Penarrocha. C/Fresador no 20-3C, Almerıa, CP 04009, Spain. Tel: þ34-95-001-4146; Fax: þ34-95-001-5603; E-mail: lemur@correo.ugr.es

fibromyalgia patients (3). Various investigations have centered on the relationship of fibromyalgia with pain, depression, anxiety and quality of life. The Copenhagen declaration in 1992 described psychological patterns frequently associated with fibromyalgia, such as anxiety and depression, and there is a growing interest in this aspect among professionals of different fields (4). Nevertheless, many authors consider that psychological factors are more frequently the result than the cause of pain and disability in fibromyalgia, and this issue remains controversial (4).

Some symptoms of fibromyalgia are similar to those observed during depression, and antidepressants have

  • The Author(s) 2009. Published by Oxford University Press.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by-nc/2.5/uk/) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Downloaded from http://ecam.oxfordjournals.org at Goteborg University on September 8, 2010

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