A controlled study of the effect of a mindfulness-based stress reduction technique in women with multiple chemical sensitivity, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia

J Multidiscip Healthc. 2009 Apr 7;2:53-9. doi: 10.2147/jmdh.s5220.

Abstract

Background: The objective of this study was to examine the effect of a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program on women diagnosed with conditions such as multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and fibromyalgia (FM).

Methods: The intervention group underwent a 10-week MBSR program. Symptoms Checklist Inventory (SCL-90R) was used as outcome measure and was administered before the start of the program (pre-), immediately upon completion (post-) and at three-month follow-up. Women on the wait list to receive treatment at the Nova Scotia Environmental Health Centre were used as control subjects for the study.

Results: A total of 50 participants in the intervention group and 26 in the wait-list controls group were recruited for this study. Global scores in the intervention group reached statistical significance pre-post (<0.0001) and at pre-follow-up (<0.0001) while the global scores in the control group remained the same. Five of nine and eight of nine subscales of the SCL-90R showed improvement of statistical significance in MBSR group following treatment and at three-month follow-up.

Conclusions: The study showed the importance of complementary interventions such as MBSR techniques in the reduction of psychological distress in women with chronic conditions.

Keywords: chemical sensitivity; chronic conditions; mindfulness-based stress reduction; multiple chemical sensitivity.