Mindfulness meditation alleviates fibromyalgia symptoms in women: results of a randomized clinical trial

Ann Behav Med. 2015 Jun;49(3):319-30. doi: 10.1007/s12160-014-9665-0.


Background: Several recent reviews have evaluated evidence on the efficacy of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) among fibromyalgia sufferers, and concluded that more research should test effects on both psychological and physiological functioning.

Purpose: We conducted a randomized prospective trial of MBSR among female fibromyalgia patients.

Methods: Effects on perceived stress, pain, sleep quality, fatigue, symptom severity, and salivary cortisol were tested in treatment (n=51) versus wait-list control participants (n=40) using data at baseline, post-program, and 2-month follow-up.

Results: Analyses revealed that MBSR significantly reduced perceived stress, sleep disturbance, and symptom severity, with gains maintained at follow-up. Greater home practice at follow-up was associated with reduced symptom severity. MBSR did not significantly alter pain, physical functioning, or cortisol profiles.

Conclusion: MBSR ameliorated some of the major symptoms of fibromyalgia and reduced subjective illness burden. Further exploration of MBSR effects on physiological stress responses is warranted. These results support use of MBSR as a complementary treatment for women with fibromyalgia (

Isrctn: 34628811).

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cost of Illness
  • Female
  • Fibromyalgia / metabolism
  • Fibromyalgia / physiopathology
  • Fibromyalgia / therapy*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Meditation / methods*
  • Mindfulness / methods*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*

Associated data

  • ISRCTN/ISRCTN34628811