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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2 thoughts on “Conventional vs. Integrative Medicine for Fibromyalgia”

  1. IanH says:

    There was no control ie no placebo. It could be that the short term IM approach has a higher placebo component than the std medication. If you look on the PH blog site on FM or CFS you will see plenty of people claiming that one or other supplements improved their symptoms but only for a while, typically several weeks or months, then “wore off”. This sounds suspicious. Not that supplements do not help but this placebo component is very strong in nociceptive pain conditions and generalized fatigue syndromes.

  2. roge says:


    another useless study

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