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Effects of Using Enjoyable Imagery with Biofeedback Induced Relaxation for Chronic Pain Patients

Patrick McKee


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of a nine week treatment program using biofeedback-assisted deep relaxation and enjoyable or play imagery on the following dependent variables in four groups of chronic pain patients: (1) experience and intensity of pain, (2) depression, (3) leisure attitudes, (4) daily leisure activity, and (5) ability to relax.

Twenty patients diagnosed as experiencing chronic pain were randomly selected and assigned to one of four treatment groups of five each: (1) imagery with biofeedback, (2) biofeedback, (3) day treatment only, and (4) a no-treatment waiting list control.

The following comparisons describe selected significant differences after treatment. The imagery-biofeedback and biofeedback groups combined reported less pain and showed greater increases in amount of daily activity enjoyed than day treatment only or control groups. Patients in the two biofeedback groups also showed greater ability to relax (EMG) than the day treatment patients.


Leisure counseling; relaxation; biofeedback; pain; therapeutic recreation

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