There are various forms of psoriasis. Hypnosis has shown to be successful in its treatment. I thought that the best way to convince sufferers that they might consider to see if hypnosis may benefit them was to show you some research.
Research About Psoriasis and Hypnosis
Vol. 68, No. 4, 1999
A Pilot Study of Hypnosis in the Treatment of Patients with PsoriasisFrancisco Tausk, S. Elizabeth Whitmore
Department of Dermatology, The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md., USA
Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics 1999;68:221-225 (DOI: 10.1159/000012336)
[You will see the research below in the main text.]
If you go here… You will see just how powerful the mind can be. There is a story about Dr Albert Mason and the Elephant Boy and how this boy had a medical disease that it was felt couldn’t be helped. But because Dr Mason thought they were warts which he knew hypnosis could help – he cleared 95 percent of this boys skin disease believing it would work – and it did!
Background: The use of psychological therapies for patients with psoriasis has been proposed based on observations that the severity of their disease may correlate with emotional stress. The aim of this pilot study was to evaluate the effect of hypnosis as a treatment modality for patients with psoriasis. Methods: We performed a 3-month randomised, single-blind, controlled trial of the use of hypnosis in adults with stable, chronic, plaque-type psoriasis. Highly or moderately hypnotizable subjects were
randomised to receive either hypnosis with active suggestions of improvement (5 patients) or neutral hypnosis with no mention of their disease process (6 patients). After this period, the study was unblinded, and all the patients were treated for an additional 3 months with hypnosis with active suggestions of improvement. Results: Highly hypnotizable subjects showed significantly greater improvement than did moderately hypnotizable subjects, independent of treatment group assignment (active suggestion or neutral hypnosis). Conclusion: Although this study included a very limited number of patients, the results suggest that hypnosis may be a useful therapeutic modality for highly hypnotizable subjects with psoriasis, and merits further testing in a larger patient population.
Research shows that the brain causes our skin to respond to hypnotic suggestion
In a classic experiment, Japanese doctors Ikemi and Nakagawa hypnotised volunteers and told them that a leaf applied to their skin was a toxic plant, such as a poison ivy. The plant was harmless but the subjects’ skin became red and irritated. The same experimenters applied the real toxic plant to other subjects’ skin after telling them it was innocuous. The expected biological reaction of irritation did not take place.
In 1928, Drs. Heilig and Hoff of the University of Vienna used hypnosis to alleviate outbreaks of oral herpes (cold sores). In a separate experiment, they could also trigger new outbreaks in these patients by reminding them, under hypnosis, of the painful events that had triggered them originally (such as a death in the family) and of the itching and tingling that usually come just before the sores appear.Drs. Kaneko and Takaishi of the Osaka University Medical School used a similar procedure with hives. Fourteen of the twenty-seven patients they treated made complete or near-complete recoveries; only five reported no benefit. They too could bring the symptoms back with hypnosis, either by suggesting skin irritation directly or by bringing to mind situations that aroused anger.Additionally, two dozen scientific reports, including several large-scale studies, describe successfully treating warts by using hypnosis. In recent years, many more researchers have effectively applied these techniques to a wide variety of symptoms and conditions.Rather than dividing illness into “emotional” or “psychosomatic” and “physical,” we need to think of emotions as a factor in all skin problems.
Randomised Control Trials
The early report by Sulzberger and Wolf (1934) on the efficacy of suggestion in treating warts has been confirmed numerous times (Sheehan, 1978) to a greater or lesser degree. Numerous reports attest to the efficacy of hypnosis in treating warts. In a well-conducted controlled study that serves as a typical example (Surman, Gottlieb, Hackett, & Silverberg 1973), 53% of the experimental group had improvement of their warts 3 months after the first of five hypnotherapy sessions, while none of the control group had improvement. Another randomised controlled study with similar findings was that of Spanos, Williams, and Gwynn (1990). Hypnosis can definitely be helpful as complementary or alternative therapy for warts.
Stress plays an important role in the onset, exacerbation, and prolongation of psoriasis. Hypnosis and suggestion have positive effects on psoriasis. Tausk and Whitmore (1999) performed a small randomised double-blind controlled trial using hypnosis as adjunctive therapy in psoriasis with significant improvement of highly hypnotizable subjects. Hypnosis can be quite useful as a complementary therapy for resistant psoriasis, especially if there is a significant emotional factor in the triggering of the psoriasis.
Non random Control Trials
In a non random controlled clinical trial, Stewart and Thomas (1995) treated 18 adults with extensive atopic dermatitis who had been resistant to conventional treatment with hypnotherapy. They used relaxation, stress management, direct suggestion for non scratching behaviour, direct suggestion for skin comfort and coolness, ego strengthening, posthypnotic suggestions, and instruction in self-hypnosis. The results were statistically significant (p<0.01) for reduction in itch, scratching, sleep disturbance, and tension. Reported topical corticosteroid use decreased from the original amount by 40% at 4 weeks, 50% at 8 weeks, and 60% at 16 weeks. For milder cases of atopic dermatitis, hypnosis can be sufficient along with masturbation as a primary alternative treatment. For more extensive or resistant atopic dermatitis, hypnosis can be a very useful complementary therapy that reduces the amounts required of other conventional treatments.
Inhibition of immediate-type hypersensitivity response by direct suggestion under hypnosis was reported for 8 of 12 subjects by Black (1963). In a study of hypnosis with relaxation therapy on 15 patients with chronic urticaria of 7.8 years average duration, Shertzer and Lookingbill (1987) found that within 14 months, six patients were cleared and another eight patients improved, with decreased medication requirements reported by 80% of the subjects. In selected individuals, it appears that hypnosis may be useful as complementary or even alternative therapy for chronic urticaria.
Most doctors don’t think to look for seeing if hypnosis is able to help a client with skin disorders. If you have tried many things without much success, then perhaps you might like to see if this is an avenue for you to pursue.
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The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) – http://www.aad.org
American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, Inc. (AARDA) – http://www.aarda.org
American Skin Association (ASA) – http://www.americanskin.org
National Health Information Center – http://www.health.gov/NHIC
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases – http://www.niams.nih.gov
The National Psoriasis Foundation – http://www.psoriasis.org
U.S. National Library of Medicine – http://www.nih.gov
Searchable NLM Electronic Databases
MEDLINEMedline® (Medical Literature, Analysis, and Retrieval System Online) is the U.S. NLM’s foremost bibliographic database. It references articles in 4,600 journals in life sciences with the emphasis on biomedicine.