Review Detail

 
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: A Survival Guide
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
Written by Maff     July 26, 2007    
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: A Survival Guide has been a must read for all MCS sufferers since it was first published in 2000. Now a new version of the book has been released with substantially updated content.

Pamela Reed Gibson, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychology at James Madison University, in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She is the author of numerous journal articles and regularly presents papers on MCS and environmental health topics.

Since 1992 Professor Gibson has sought to better understand environmental illnesses, and multiple chemical sensitivity in particular. Her work has focused on understanding the impact MCS has on a sufferer's life as well as contextualizing MCS within the modern industrial culture in which we in the developed world live.

Professor Gibson has written a number of journal articles and delivered a number of conference papers on the impact of MCS on a person's life. MCS and issues of environmental health in general are discussed in all of her classes and she also talks about related illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia. In addition, when time allows, she consults with MCS patients and their helpers and attempts to provide resources to improve their quality of life.

For the second edition of the book Professor Gibson draws up on new insights discovered through her continuing work since the first edition was published.

The original Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: A Survival Guide was an essential addition to any MCS sufferer's library and the new edition can only be considered even more so. As the title suggests, it focuses on how MCS affects a sufferers life and offers practical information for improving the situation, rather than getting caught up in what causes the condition and related issues. Of course there is a chapter that outlines various theories about MCS but the remainder of the book is squarely aimed at helping people cope with the condition and improve their quality of life.

After briefly outlining the proposed physiological and psychological causes of MCS early on, the book moves on to the more practical information. The following chapters include advice on how to make your home environment safe, how to eat a healthy diet whilst avoiding triggers, how to find suitable medical help, and how to successfully apply for state benefits.

The book also contains extensive appendices which include contact information for support organizations and manufacturers of MCS safe products, as well as listing sources for further reading.

What really sets this book apart however is the final appendix which comes from one of Professor Gibson's research papers published in 2003 (new for the 2nd edition). Professor Gibson and colleagues surveyed 917 MCS sufferers who had tried a total of 101 different treatments. They then presented data showing the effectiveness of each treatment based on reports given by the sufferers.

Given the current lack of medical understanding of MCS and the associated lack of any officially recognized treatment, this appendix is akin to the holy grail for many of those suffering from this devastating illness. The reader can see at a glance the relative effectiveness of 101 different treatment options as rated by other MCS patients who have already tried them. Treating MCS is still very much a case of trying things to see what works but at least with the information in this appendix sufferers can see what has worked most often for others and therefore narrow the odds of seeing improvements.

Treatments examined included environmental medicine techniques, holistic therapies, individual nutritional supplements, detoxification techniques, body therapies, Eastern-origin techniques, newer therapies, prescription items, and others.

This fantastic addition caps off an already invaluable source of information. This book cannot be recommended highly enough for all those struggling with multiple chemical sensitivity.

Overall rating 
 
8.6
Content  
 
9.0
Ease of reading  
 
8.0
Value for money  
 
8.0
How much did this book help you?  
 
9.0
Would you recommend? 
 
9.0
Maff Reviewed by Maff July 26, 2007
Last updated: July 30, 2009
#1 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (107)

A must read for the chemically sensitive

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: A Survival Guide has been a must read for all MCS sufferers since it was first published in 2000. Now a new version of the book has been released with substantially updated content.

Pamela Reed Gibson, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychology at James Madison University, in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She is the author of numerous journal articles and regularly presents papers on MCS and environmental health topics.

Since 1992 Professor Gibson has sought to better understand environmental illnesses, and multiple chemical sensitivity in particular. Her work has focused on understanding the impact MCS has on a sufferer's life as well as contextualizing MCS within the modern industrial culture in which we in the developed world live.

Professor Gibson has written a number of journal articles and delivered a number of conference papers on the impact of MCS on a person's life. MCS and issues of environmental health in general are discussed in all of her classes and she also talks about related illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia. In addition, when time allows, she consults with MCS patients and their helpers and attempts to provide resources to improve their quality of life.

For the second edition of the book Professor Gibson draws up on new insights discovered through her continuing work since the first edition was published.

The original Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: A Survival Guide was an essential addition to any MCS sufferer's library and the new edition can only be considered even more so. As the title suggests, it focuses on how MCS affects a sufferers life and offers practical information for improving the situation, rather than getting caught up in what causes the condition and related issues. Of course there is a chapter that outlines various theories about MCS but the remainder of the book is squarely aimed at helping people cope with the condition and improve their quality of life.

After briefly outlining the proposed physiological and psychological causes of MCS early on, the book moves on to the more practical information. The following chapters include advice on how to make your home environment safe, how to eat a healthy diet whilst avoiding triggers, how to find suitable medical help, and how to successfully apply for state benefits.

The book also contains extensive appendices which include contact information for support organizations and manufacturers of MCS safe products, as well as listing sources for further reading.

What really sets this book apart however is the final appendix which comes from one of Professor Gibson's research papers published in 2003 (new for the 2nd edition). Professor Gibson and colleagues surveyed 917 MCS sufferers who had tried a total of 101 different treatments. They then presented data showing the effectiveness of each treatment based on reports given by the sufferers.

Given the current lack of medical understanding of MCS and the associated lack of any officially recognized treatment, this appendix is akin to the holy grail for many of those suffering from this devastating illness. The reader can see at a glance the relative effectiveness of 101 different treatment options as rated by other MCS patients who have already tried them. Treating MCS is still very much a case of trying things to see what works but at least with the information in this appendix sufferers can see what has worked most often for others and therefore narrow the odds of seeing improvements.

Treatments examined included environmental medicine techniques, holistic therapies, individual nutritional supplements, detoxification techniques, body therapies, Eastern-origin techniques, newer therapies, prescription items, and others.

This fantastic addition caps off an already invaluable source of information. This book cannot be recommended highly enough for all those struggling with multiple chemical sensitivity.

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Written by Tanya Kim Dixon
February 26, 2018
I am a longtime MCS suffer who has struggled with almost daily encounters with triggering substances, and I am truly happy to learn of a book that covers the symptoms, and gives you information on how to help us who suffer with it, handle it better. The mere validation that is a real medical condition is encouraging. This is an illness that can devastate your life, prevent you from getting jobs because of sick building syndrome, and hyper-sensitivity to all sorts of unusual stuff. I look forward to learning as much as possible from it.
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