Hypnosis and Eczema
If you suffer from eczema and have patches of red, dry, flaky skin, then it is important for you to realize these are merely symptoms, and the real problem is that you have an overactive immune system. Put another way, the reason you have eczema is because your body thinks it is under attack, and the only way it knows how to protect you is by shedding your skin.
This is like living in a house where the burglar alarm is so sensitive it is always going off, even when there is no intruder.
Now you can go to a doctor and get various medications to clear your skin and reduce the itchiness. However, hypnosis can achieve the same results because it has been clinically proven to reduce the size and severity of allergic skin reactions. It has also been clinically proven to have a powerful analgesic effect so it can help to block any itchiness and discomfort.
It is also one of the most effective ways to reduce stress, which is one of the things that often triggers an outbreak of eczema.
Now as important as all of these are, they still only deal with the symptoms and not the underlying cause. And here it is important to recognize that all of your immunological reactions are really nothing more than subconscious processes. And as such, they are particularly responsive to subconscious treatments such as hypnosis.
This means that not only can hypnosis be used to help relieve your symptoms, it can also help you reset your immune system so that it is not nearly as sensitive as it is now.
Now if this does not give you enough of a reason to try hypnosis, it gets even better, because if your eczema can be traced back to a specific psychological or emotional event in your childhood, then this means your subconscious learned to react this way. And if this is the case, then hypnosis can also be used to help your subconscious unlearn it.
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Eczema Fact Sheet
This is a chronic inflammation of the skin that often accompanies other allergies.
- an overactive immune system;
- stress and emotional tension;
- a history of eczema in the family;
- irritants (such as wool, soap and certain kinds of laundry detergent);
- tobacco smoke;
- allergies (especially to milk, eggs, wheat, peanuts and citrus foods);
- air-born allergies (such as hay fever).
- thick, itchy, red, scaly skin;
- often on hands, feet, face and groin;
- often in the creases of the elbows, knees and neck;
- can resemble lichen (lichenification);
- can cause white depigmentation of skin in adults;
- often associated with high levels of IgE (an immunoglobulin).
How Hypnosis Can Help You
If you have eczema, then hypnosis is ideally suited to helping you deal with this condition because:
- it can enhance your innate capacity to heal yourself;
- it can improve your ability to follow sound medical advice and work with your physicians;
- it can help to reduce the amount of medication you require to manage your eczema;
- it has an analgesic effect and can help to block itchiness and discomfort;
- it can help you to deal with the emotional component of your illness;
- it can reduce stress, anxiety and other problems that can make the eczema worse;
- it can help by allowing you to dissociate yourself (focus your mind and attention elsewhere) from your eczema so it is not nearly as annoying and uncomfortable;
- it can help if there is a link between a specific emotional trauma and the onset of your eczema;
- it can help if there is a link between your mood (such as feeling sad or wounded) and the intensity of your reaction;
- it can help if the allergy involves any subconscious and state-dependent processes;
- it can help to desensitize the immune system through the mind/body connection so it does not react as strongly to allergens.
Some Research That Proves These Claims...
The scientific research is conclusive. If you are capable of entering into a moderately deep state of hypnosis (something 70% of the population can achieve), then hypnosis can help you to reduce the intensity of your eczema. It can also help you to control any emotions that might make it worse. And it might even be able to help you to grow out of it by pin-pointing the emotional event that first triggered this reaction. Here is a summation of some of these studies...
Hypnosis as a Treatment for Atopic Dermatitis in Adults and Children. Br J Dermatol. 1995 May;132(5):778-83. Stewart AC, Thomas SE.
This paper reports on the use of hypnosis to treat eighteen adults and twenty children suffering from atopic dermatitis (a type of eczema) that did not respond to conventional treatments. These patients showed significant improvements (with 19 of the children showing immediate improvements) and where follow-ups were possible these improvement lasted for at least two years.
Hypnosis in Dermatology. Arch Dermatol. 2000 Mar;136(3):393-9, Shenefelt PD.
This study involved a review of the scientific research conducted on the use of hypnosis for the treatment of skin disorders. It found that there were a wide variety of skin disorders that could be improved and even cured by hypnosis. Among them were: "acne excoriee, alopecia areata, atopic dermatitis, congenital ichthyosiform erythroderma, dyshidrotic dermatitis, erythromelalgia, furuncles, glossodynia, herpes simplex, hyperhidrosis, ichthyosis vulgaris, lichen planus, neurodermatitis, nummular dermatitis, postherpetic neuralgia, pruritus, psoriasis, rosacea, trichotillomania, urticaria, verruca vulgaris, and vitiligo."
Applying Hypnosis in Dermatology: Single or a Few Case Reports. Dermatology Nursing. 2003;15(6) Shenefelt PD.
This paper examines the academic literature on the use of hypnosis to treat skin numerous skin conditions:
Acne Excoriee (excoriations are the scars that are formed when acne is picked): Here hypnosis was successfully used in 1959 to help two people stop picking their acne by giving the subjects post-hypnotic suggestions to say the word "scar" whenever they felt the urge to pick.
Alopecia Areata (hair loss): Researcher found that those who suffer from this condition usually react very badly to stress and suffer from underlying depression. Hypnosis has been used to treat these underlying problems which has led to an improvement in this condition.
Dyshidrotic Dermatitis (small blisters on the hand and feet): Two cases have been reported. One involved the use hypnosis to treat the condition itself and one that used hypnosis to work on the underlying emotional issues. Both reduced the severity of this condition.
Herpes Simplex (cold and genital sores): Hypnosis has been used to reduce the frequency of outbreaks of herpes. Hypnosis has also been found to help treat the emotional triggers that often lead to outbreaks.
Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating):Hypnosis has been reported to help alleviate this condition.
Lichen Planus (a rash that often forms on the wrists and ankles and around the mouth that looks like lichen):Hypnosis has been used to reduce the lesions caused by this disease.
Neurodermatitis (a form of eczema):There have been reports of the use of hypnosis to heal this condition. Follow-ups four years later showed that it had not returned.
Nummular Dermatitis (round or oval-shaped itchy lesions): One early researcher (1960) reported that hypnosis was used to reduce pruritus and heal the lesions.
Postherpetic Neuralgia (the pain that follows the outbreak of herpes zoster): Hypnosis has been successfully used to heal the pain that accompanies acute herpes zoster.
Pruritus (an itch or a sensation that makes someone want to scratch): Hypnosis has been successfully used to modify and improve this condition.
Rosacea (a condition that causes facial redness):Hypnosis has been able to reduce the vascular blush that accompanies this condition.
Some Other Relevant Studies...
Reducing Skin Reactions
Modulation Of Type I Immediate And Type IV Delayed Immunoreactivity Using Direct Suggestion And Guided Imagery During Hypnosis. Allergy Volume 44(8): 537 – 542. Zachariae R, Bjerring P, Arendt-Nielsen L.
Eight highly hypnotizable volunteers were recruited for this study where it was found that when these subjects were given suggestions while in hypnosis to decrease their reaction to a histamine prick test, there was a significant reduction in the inflammation of the skin when compared to a control group. This study confirmed numerous anecdotal reports that hypnotic suggestions can decrease inflammation and other allergic skin reactions.
Hypnotic Treatment of Chronic Pain. J Behav Med. 2006 Jan 11;:1-30. Jensen M, Patterson DR.
This paper reviewed various controlled trials involving the use of hypnosis to control pain. It concluded that hypnosis can provide a significantly greater reduction in pain than physical therapy, education, or the management of medications. It even found that the hypnotic treatment did not even have to be called 'hypnosis' for it to be effective.
The Effect of Hypnotically Induced Analgesia on Flare Reaction of the Cutaneous Histamine Prick Test. Archives of Dermatological Research, Vol 282(8) Dec. 1990: 539-43. Zachariae R, Bjerring P.
Ten highly hypnotizable subjects were recruited for this study. They were given a histamine prick test (which will cause a painful red welt to form on the skin) before, during and after a single hypnosis session (where they were given the hypnotic suggestion to experience analgesia in their arm). The subjects rated their feeling of pain on a visual analogue scale and reported a 71.7% reduction in the pain during hypnosis. The researchers also noted that there was a significant reduction in the histamine flare area when the subject was hypnotized (as compared to the size of the histamine flare area that occurred in the pre and post hypnosis tests)
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