Applying Hypnosis in Dermatology

Philip D. Shenefelt


Dermatology Nursing. 2003;15(6) 

In This Article

Randomized 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 randomized 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 randomized 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.


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