The Effectiveness of Mindfulness-based Programs on Physical Symptoms and Psychological Distress in Patients with Fibromyalgia: A Systematic Review


  • Miriam Henke University of Adelaide, School of Psychology
  • Anna Chur-Hansen School of Psychology, University of Adelaide


mindfulness meditation, fibromyalgia, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, systematic review, mind-body therapies


Objective: Research into and the clinical use of mindfulness as a therapeutic intervention have increased in recent years and the results have been promising in a range of illness populations. One area in which mindfulness has been trialled is fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition currently with poor treatment outcomes. The aim of this systematic review was to examine the effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions on physical symptoms and psychological distress in patients with fibromyalgia. Methods: Systematic review: PubMed, PsycINFO, Embase and Scopus were searched for randomised controlled trials and prospective and retrospective studies. A quality assessment and synthesis of the quantitative data (based on guidelines from the Joanna Briggs Institute) was completed on studies using a mindfulness-based intervention with patients with fibromyalgia on outcomes related to physical symptoms and psychological distress and wellbeing. Results: Ten studies met the inclusion criteria. All included studies used a mindfulness-based group program design. Although outcome measures and data presentation varied, making statistical pooling impossible, the narrative synthesis resulted in overall positive evidence for the efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions for patients with fibromyalgia on a range of physical symptom and psychological distress outcome measures. Conclusion: Mindfulness is a favourable treatment option for patients with fibromyalgia. Whilst demonstrated efficacy was generally positive, the number of studies addressing this topic is small and there was wide variation in outcome measures and data presentation. More research is needed, particularly large-scale randomised controlled trials with consistent methodology, outcome measures and sufficient follow-up time periods.


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Author Biography

Anna Chur-Hansen, School of Psychology, University of Adelaide

Professor and Head of School of Psychology, University of Adelaide.  Registered Health Psychologist.