MBSR and fibromyalgia

Kenneth H. Kaplan, M.D, Don L. Goldenberg, M.D., and Maureen Galvin-Nadeau, M.S., C.S., The Impact of a Meditation-Based Stress Reduction Program on Fibromyalgia. General Hospital Psychiatry 15, 284-289, 1993.


Fibromyalgia is a chronic illness characterized by widespread pain, fatigue, sleep disturbance, and resistance to treatment.

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a meditation-based stress reduction program on fibromyalgia. Seventy-seven patients meeting the 1990 criteria of the American College of Rheumatology for fibromyalgia took part in a 10-week group outpatient program. Therapists followed a carefully defined treatment approach and met weekly to further promote uniformity.

Patients were evaluated before and after the program. Initial evaluation included a psychiatric structured clinical interview (SCID). Outcome measures included visual analog scales to measure global well being, pain, sleep, fatigue, and feeling refreshed in the morning. Patients also completed a medical symptom checklist, SCL-90-R, Coping Strategies Questionnaire, Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, and the Fibromyalgia Attitude Index. Although the mean scores of all the patients completing the program showed improvement, 51% showed moderate to marked improvement and only they were counted as “responders”.

These preliminary findings suggest that a meditation-based stress reduction program is effective for patients with fibromyalgia.

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