MBSR and psoriasis

Kabat-Zinn, J., Wheeler, E., Light, T., Skillings, A., Scharf, M., Cropley, T. G., Hosmer, D., and Bernhard, J., Influence of a mindfulness-based stress reduction intervention on rates of skin clearing in patients with moderate to severe psoriasis undergoing phototherapy (UVB) and photochemotherapy (PUVA). Psychosom. Med. (1998) 60:625-632.


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 audio taped 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. Overall the meditators cleared at approximately four times the rate of those subjects receiving light treatment without the guided meditation tape intervention.

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.

1 Comment. Leave new

  • I was diagnosed with psoriasis almost 3 years ago and have spent thousands of dollars on various treatments. Steroids improved the condition but the side effects ruled that treatment out. The only other treatment that seemed to help had a cost of over $300 a month after insurance which put it out of my range. Lazer treatments and humara (extremely dangerous) proved to be of little help.
    I started mindfulness meditating a few months ago and came upon this study yesterday while researching for something else regarding my practicing. Wow….this gives me hope and have started increasing my meditation time. I am hoping this will be beneficial; however, knowing that two of the top dermatologists in this area never mentioned this has sent my stress level skyrocketing. Guess I still need to work on acceptance of this and my compassion towards the medical community.


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