An article written by physicians from Clinicalpsychiatry.com explains how chemicals released by the body during periods of stress can cause changes in the skin that leave it vulnerable to infection.
The doctors go on to suggest that non-drug interventions such as meditation, psychotherapy and hypnotherapy may offer significant benefits to patients struggling with skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and urticaria.
It is thought that these therapies can help reduce stress levels (which are thought to exacerbate certain skin problems).
Dr Richard G. Fried, who wrote the report in the journal Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery, said: “Clinical studies have demonstrated that psychological stress disrupts skin barrier function and increases the severity of cutaneous infections, and down-regulates antimicrobial peptide expression, resulting in more severe skin infections in mice.”
Dr Fried goes on to explain how recent studies show that hypnotherapy can stop patients scratching their eczema, thereby speeding up treatment, and can even promote hair regrowth in 50% of alopecia patients.
As well as targeting the symptoms, hypnotherapy is thought to tackle the root causes, including mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.
It is thought that hypnotherapy helps by accessing the individual’s unconscious mind to teach new behavioural patterns and dislodge anxious thoughts. It can also help to reduce any low self-esteem or insecurities the patient might have surrounding his or her skin condition.
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