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Does hypnotherapy/hypnosis help treat skin conditions (eczema, psoriasis)?

Claudia Aguirre, PhD
Dermatology

Yes, I believe it can be helpful in some individuals. It is now commonly accepted that dermatologic disorders such as eczema and psoriasis carry a psychological component. Research into the stress hormone cortisol has shown that it cannot only increase skin sensitivity, but also increase skin inflammation - which leads to skin flare-ups. In any inflammatory skin condition (rosacea, acne) the increase in cortisol worsens or triggers symptoms.

As part of a variety of non-pharmacological treatments, hypnotherapy has shown success in helping with various skin conditions including acne. It can be difficult to define 'hypnosis' - which can include altered consciousness, focused attentiveness, heightened suggestibility and restricted attention. In any case, hypnosis can help modify behavior - it can not only help control the urge to scratch an itch, but also promote healthy behaviors.

Finally, it can also reduce stress levels, which will inevitably help relieve some of the symptoms. Overall, hypnosis does not cure disease, but as we understand the mind-body connection more and more, we can use additional therapies like hypnosis, biofeedback, relaxation, meditation and mindfulness to complement conventional medicine treatments for a more integrative approach to health care.

Jeannette O. Graf, MD
Dermatology
Skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis are aggravated by stress. Therefore, changing certain lifestyle habits can be quite helpful in treating these conditions. Some of these stress-reducers include yoga, deep breathing, meditation, quiet time, and for some patients, hypnotherapy can be quite relaxing and therefore helpful. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.