• chronic tension-type headache;
  • guided imagery;
  • perceived happy memory;
  • randomized control trail

Scand J Caring Sci; 2012; 26; 254–261

A randomized control trial: the effect of guided imagery with tape and perceived happy memory on chronic tension type headache

Purpose:  To determine the effects of guided imagery techniques with tape and perceived happy memory on people with chronic tension-type headache (CTTH).

Methods:  Sixty people with CTTH completed the demographic questionnaire and headache diary 1 week before the treatment, that is, for 3 weeks during the treatment and 1 week immediately after that. The people were randomly assigned into one of three different treatment groups: a Guided imagery (GI) with tape group (n = 20), a GI with perceived happy memory group (n = 20) and a control group (n = 20). In addition to individualized headache therapy, subjects listened to a guided imagery audiocassette tape or imagined the happiest personal memory three times per week for 3 weeks. It should be noted that 20 control subjects received individualized therapy without guided imagery.

Results:  The guided imagery groups both tape and perceived happy memory had significantly more improvement than the controls in three of the outcome measures; headache intensity, headache frequency and headache duration. There were no other significant differences between the guided imagery groups (tape and perceived happy memory) at any time point.

Conclusions:  Guided imagery is an effective, available and affordable nonpharmacological therapy either with tape or with perceived happy memory for the management of the CTTH.