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Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) is a condition whose precise pathology has been elusive,  but with many years of experience treating MCS, we do have an idea of what’s causing it. We know that the typical allergic pathway is more alert in those with MCS and that people with MCS often suffer from various deficits including problems with their bodies’ detoxification systems, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, GI tract issues and impaired immunity. Associated conditions include food allergies and chronic fatigue. Treating these conditions may help ease the chemical sensitivities.

After we perform various laboratory investigations to show your current health status, we then correct the nutritional and gastrointestinal abnormalities, advise on how to reduce exposure to, and body burden of, chemicals and use low-dose immunotherapy (LDI) for chemicals, foods and inhalants. We can also help with the use of detoxification support, hyperthermia treatment with our IRATHERM® and infusions as well as nutritional supplements and antioxidant treatment plans to help your body recover from this burden.

There are numerous lifestyle adjustments, including eating organic food, that will help reduce the load on the body and provide relief for MCS sufferers.  With the growing pollution of indoor and outdoor environments, we can offer helpful, knowledgeable advice to those with MCS. From carpets, furnishings, cleaning agents to paints, varnishes and pest treatments, we have strategies for reducing exposure to potential irritants in your place of work or home.  Our environmental advice can help you to reduce the burden on your immune system in your home and place of work.

As part of your treatment programme, there will be recommendations for changes in lifestyle, diet, supplementation, detoxification regime and an allergy/sensitivity treatment programme that will reduce the load on your body and provide relief.

Treatment options may include:

  • hyperthermia treatment – treatment sessions with our IRATHERM®, which provides intense infra-red sauna body-heating therapy, which can help to relieve the pain.
  • addressing stomach or digestive problems – this is commonly caused by food sensitivities and testing for these and provision of low-dose immunotherapy (LDI) will allow the correction of specific food sensitivities to help relieve pain and provide support.
  • improving gut function – recommendations will be made to optimise your gut function by balancing the microbiomes. The gut has trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi, which are collectively known as microbiome.  Some are linked to disease while others are essential for your immune system and many other aspects of health.
  • oxygen therapy – many people benefit from using an oxygen concentrator, which helps increase the oxygen levels in the blood.
  • detoxification –  lifestyle changes may be recommended to help eliminate toxins in the body, including drugs.
  • rectification of your energy cycle – the Krebs cycle is the citric acid cycle which is the main source of energy for living things. There are 10 steps in the Krebs cycle and if any of the steps are not performing as they should, there is a knockdown effect, which can cause extreme fatigue and pain.
  • redox restorative substances

If you suffer from multiple chemical sensitivity, make an appointment for an initial consultation with our Clinical Team.

So, thanks to an Italian doctor I trust who told me about Breakspear Medical, I came here and today I can say that thanks to them my life has improved a lot! I came back to be a sportsman, something I hadn’t been able to do anymore.”

Carlo Calcagni, Paralympic athlete

More about Carlo’s story


For those with MCS, there are many supplements that may be recommended by our Clinical Team. We have shown that patients with MCS have a defective ability to detoxify certain chemicals, specific patterns of deficiency of vitamins and minerals, changes in the gastrointestinal tract, and alterations in the immune system.  A good diet with the appropriate nutritional supplements can help enormously. Often supplements are used in prescribed doses, which may vary considerably from the standard, recommended doses. A wide range of herbal remedies can also help as part of the first step to working towards feeling better.

Our Environmental Naturopath, Jean Monro, has many years of experience treating MCS patients and helping them regain control over their lives.


MCS often develops after exposure to a large amount of a single chemical, such as solvents and pesticides, but can also follow prolonged, low-level exposure to single or multiple agents. When an MCS sufferer’s sensitivity to chemicals is heightened, normal levels of pollution can provoke illness. After single chemical exposure, sensitivity to the original chemical is followed by spreading sensitivity to other, unrelated chemicals.  This is known as the spreading phenomenon.

As the condition continues to develop, affected people often suffer adverse reactions to foods and inhaled particles, such as pollen and dust, in addition to other chemicals. The clinical picture may be complicated by the fact that the body has an inherent, but variable, capacity to adapt to its environment. For example, the first cigarette ever smoked may cause irritation and nausea but, with repeated exposure to the smoke, these symptoms disappear. This is an example of adaptation.

However, when the body adapts, the true, toxic nature of the provoking substance is concealed and this is called masking. To complicate matters further, the symptoms may not be produced until a personal threshold is exceeded, and a combination of different substances and influences may have an additive effect, which is called the load phenomenon. An example of the load phenomenon is when the symptoms of hay fever, caused by pollen allergy, may not be noticed until simultaneous exposure to car exhaust occurs. The increased load of the two substances causes the noticeable reaction.

People with multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) often report adverse effects from exposure to everyday amounts of every day common chemicals, such as:

  • perfume, cologne, aftershave
  • hairspray, hair styling products
  • cosmetics
  • standard laundry products
  • car exhaust
  • paint

MCS must be distinguished from acute chemical toxicity, which is where a given amount of a chemical produces illness in all who are exposed to it.

If you suffer from multiple chemical sensitivity, make an appointment for an initial consultation with our Clinical Team.

Our approach is a broad one to encompass the science in relation to chemical sensitivity and our treatments are successful in helping patients to manage their condition.”

Jean Monro, Environmental Naturopath



We have shared information about multiple chemical sensitivity in our Breakspear Medical Bulletins over the years including:

Issue 52

Cinzia Pegoraro’s story of her survival with MCS p. 1

Issue 48

Franceso Cenci believes he knows the key to a successful life with MCS p. 1

Issue 47

Emma Franklin tells her story of getting out of a wheelchair, into a career p. 1

Issue 45

Retired wildlife photographer Carol Mitchell-Lisle shares how living with MCS has been life changing p. 1

Issue 44

Pollution: the largest global risk to health p. 5

Issue 40

Gold medal cyclist Carlo Calcagni competes with MCS p. 1


I have MCS and worry about visiting your clinic because I’m so sensitive. Is it safe for me?

Breakspear Medical is proud to be scent-free.  We require all our staff to adhere to our no scent policy, which is enforced 24-hours per day. Only scent-free cleaning products are used around the buildings, including only scent-free laundry powder for hospital bed sheets, towels and robes.   You may have noticed in our literature that we will ask anyone wearing scented products to wash or shower and change into a hospital gown during their visit to reduce the impact. For more information, please see our leaflet “Your guide to becoming scent-free”, which is given to new patients prior to their visit and explains how to become scent-free.  We try our best to accommodate the needs of our MCS patients.

How is MCS diagnosed?

A patient’s history is an integral part of diagnosis. If a history of reactions to chemicals is reported, this is of major importance.  At Breakspear Medical, we go beyond the standard medical questions and ask for details about specific sensitivities relating to perfumes, scented products in supermarkets or laundromats, cigarette smoke, car exhaust fumes and chemical-based cleaning agents. We also use laboratory tests as appropriate if heightened sensitivities are suspected. Our unique, established approach to gathering a detailed patient history provides deeper insights into chemical sensitivities and we offer low-dose immunotherapy to help with the tolerance of chemicals.

What do we offer at Breakspear Medical that is different to other clinics?

Unfortunately, not many other clinics have the capabilities to recognise MCS and offer adequate treatment options. However, our clinic is able to provide a comprehensive program designed around the individual’s needs. We start by taking an in-depth history of your condition and aim to clear pollutants that may be burdening your body. Our approach goes beyond simply assessing pollutant loads; we also take into account genetic make up as well as liver, kidney and immune function along with nutritional status when constructing each patient’s personalised treatment plan. By using hyperthermia to mobilise pollutants, infusions to help with detoxification pathways, and using low-dose immunotherapy to reduce allergy/sensitivity reactions, patients can expect results.

Are there things I can change in my environment to reduce my MCS symptoms?

Yes, our Clinical Team will advise you on the steps you can take within your environment to help reduce your symptoms.  We have put together a booklet with a number of recommendations to improve your home environment, which is available upon request.

Does nutritional supplementation help with the symptoms of MCS?

Our kidneys, lungs, bowels and skin are our body’s routes for expelling pollutants. To maintain the effectiveness of these organs in eliminating toxins from your body, good nutrition is key. Nutritional supplements can support this process to ensure thorough treatment for MCS.

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