Conventional vs. Integrative Medicine for Fibromyalgia

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In-Patient Treatment of Fibromyalgia: A Controlled Nonrandomized Comparison of Conventional Medicine versus Integrative Medicine including Fasting Therapy.
– Source: Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, January 23, 2013

By Andreas Michalsen, et al.


Fibromyalgia poses a challenge for therapy. Recent guidelines suggest that fibromyalgia should be treated within a multidisciplinary therapy approach. No data are available that evaluated multimodal treatment strategies of Integrative Medicine (IM).

We conducted a controlled, nonrandomized pilot study that compared two inpatient treatment strategies, an IM approach that included fasting therapy and a conventional rheumatology (CM) approach. IM used fasting cure and Mind-Body-Medicine as specific methods.

Of 48 included consecutive patients, 28 were treated with IM, 20 with CM. Primary outcome was change in the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) score after the 2-week hospital stay. Secondary outcomes included scores of pain, depression, anxiety, and well being. Assessments were repeated after 12 weeks.

  • At 2 weeks, there were significant improvements in the FIQ (P < 0.014) and for most of secondary outcomes for the IM group compared to the CM group.

  • The beneficial effects for the IM approach were reduced after 12 weeks and no longer statistically significant with the exception of anxiety.

Findings indicate that a multimodal IM treatment with fasting therapy might be superior to CM in the short term and not inferior in the mid term. Longer-term studies are warranted to assess the clinical impact of integrative multimodal treatment in fibromyalgia.

Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, January 23, 2013. By Andreas Michalsen, Chenying Li, Katharina Kaiser, Rainer Lüdtke, Larissa Meier, Rainer Stange, and Christian Kessler. Charité-University Medical Center, Institute of Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics, 10098 Berlin, Germany ; Department of Internal and Complementary Medicine, Immanuel Hospital Berlin, 14109 Berlin, Germany.

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