Applying Hypnosis in Dermatology

Philip D. Shenefelt


Dermatology Nursing. 2003;15(6) 

In This Article

Nonrandomized Control Trials

In a nonrandomized 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 nonscratching behavior, 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 moisturization 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.


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