Objective: This study tests the hypothesis that stress reduction methods based on mindfulness meditation can positively influence the rate at which psoriasis clears in patients undergoing phototherapy or photochemotherapy treatment.
Methods: Thirty-seven patients with psoriasis about to undergo ultraviolet phototherapy (UVB) or photochemotherapy (PUVA) were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: a mindfulness meditation-based stress reduction intervention guided by audiotaped instructions during light treatments, or a control condition consisting of the light treatments alone with no taped instructions. Psoriasis status was assessed in three ways: direct inspection by unblinded clinic nurses; direct inspection by physicians blinded to the patient's study condition (tape or no-tape); and blinded physician evaluation of photographs of psoriasis lesions. Four sequential indicators of skin status were monitored during the study: a First Response Point, a Turning Point, a Halfway Point, and a Clearing Point.
Results: Cox-proportional hazards regression analysis showed that subjects in the tape groups reached the Halfway Point (p = .013) and the Clearing Point (p = .033) significantly more rapidly than those in the no-tape condition, for both UVB and PUVA treatments.
Conclusions: A brief mindfulness meditation-based stress reduction intervention delivered by audiotape during ultraviolet light therapy can increase the rate of resolution of psoriatic lesions in patients with psoriasis.