Mind-body therapies: Are the trial data getting stronger?

  • Ernst E
  • Pittler M
  • Wider B
 et al. 
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The effectiveness of mind-body therapies is sometimes doubted. The aim of this article is to evaluate trends in the development of the evidence base for autogenic training, hypnotherapy, and relaxation therapy. For this purpose, a comparison of 2 series of systematic reviews was conducted. The first is related to the evidence base in 2000, the second to that in 2005. Both employed virtually the same methodology and criteria for evaluation. The results of our comparisons show considerable changes during the observation period. The weight of the evidence has become stronger for several indications, and the direction of the evidence has been altered in a positive sense in several conditions. Applying the rules of evidence-based medicine, the following mind-body therapies are now supported by strong evidence: hypnotherapy for labor pain and relaxation therapy for anxiety and insomnia, as well as for nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy. It is concluded that an evidence-based approach for mind-body therapies is constructive and can generate positive results.

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  • Edzard Ernst

  • Max H. Pittler

  • Barbara Wider

  • Kate Boddy

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