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
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
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.
This is the principle of
How hypnotherapy helps
The theory is that through focusing the
mind, via relaxation and suggestions, we effect tiny changes in blood
flow, body temperature, muscle tension, and immune function which makes
enormous differences in the physical processes that produce various skin
is an complementary
therapy that has been used since ancient times to treat medical problems.
Today, it is successfully used with a wide variety of skin conditions as
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