Hypnotherapy for skin conditions
The epidermis (skin tissue), nervous tissue (from the nervous system) and pigmentation cells all stem from the same germ layer in a developing foetus. It’s for this very reason that there appears to be a direct correlation between psychological issues (or ‘nervous states’) and their dermatological manifestations.
Stress and the skin
Stress creates a vulnerable nervous system – which notably affects the epidermis. Even a low level ‘fight or flight’ response sees blood being diverted away from the skin and into our muscles – whereby compromising the growth and repair of delicate tissues. Premature aging is one side effect encountered as the skin loses its elasticity but there is also a higher incidence of viral, fungal and bacterial infection incurred. Conditions such as eczema and psoriasis are notoriously cyclical in nature (creating what’s known as an anxiety loop) in that where stress may cause a condition to flare-up, it is often the resulting symptoms (dry, itchy, thickened or inflamed skin) that exacerbate the sufferers’ anguish – further aggravating the dermal response. Stress also lessens blood flow to the hair follicles in some and is indicated as a principle cause of alopecia and hair loss in women.
The mind body connection
Not only do skin conditions become more pronounced during periods of stress, but blushing, for instance, is a prime example of how an emotion, thought or feeling may be reflected atopically within a matter of seconds. And have you ever noticed how an engaging story or beautiful piece of music has the capacity to send a ripple of goose bumps across your flesh? Or perhaps you’ve occasionally described a person or situation as ‘getting under your skin’ or ‘making your skin crawl’? So there you have it!
How does hypnotherapy help?
Treating a symptom topically can produce short-term success however, more substantial results are achieved when allopathic medicine is used in conjunction with a more holistic approach.
- Hypnotherapy offers a means of addressing the possible underlying triggers in addition to the physical manifestations themselves.
- It looks to remedy a lack of confidence or low self-esteem via ego-strengthening techniques.
- Automatic responses (such as itching, scratching or picking) that have become unconsciously conditioned can be broken down and replaced with more appropriate behaviours.
- Hypnosis is a powerful way to alter a person’s sensory perception (with regards to itching etc.) affording the skin an opportunity to heal and lessening the likelihood of new bacteria being introduced by dirty fingernails.
- Self hypnosis, a valuable ‘take-home tool’, plays a pivotal role in stress reduction as well as helping to balance immune functions.
- Relaxation brings about a parasympathetic nervous response which not only reduces levels of stress and anxiety, but also facilitates healthy blood flow to the epidermis.
Common disorders include:
Atopic dermatitis (eczema)
The word ‘dermatitis’ means inflammation of the skin and ‘atopic’ refers to a group of diseases where there is an inherited tendency to develop allergic conditions. Eczema is the blanket term given to inflamed; itchy; swollen; scaly; or flaky skin and is linked to a compromised immune system. We now know that emotional factors, such as stress, can worsen the condition – in addition to hereditary and environmental triggers.
Psoriasis can affect any part of the body, including the nails, scalp, knees, elbows and joints. Overactive skin cells renew themselves every three to four days (instead of every 28) resulting in raised, thickened/scaled patches of inflamed skin. The impact of emotional stress on the immune system is of vital consideration here too. Other possible triggers include: injury to the skin; skin infections; reactions to certain drugs and genetic inheritance (one in three).
This autoimmune disease results in hair follicles being mistakenly attacked by a person’s own immune system (white blood cells), resulting in the arrest of the hair growth stage. The loss of hair on ones scalp alone is called alopecia areata although some sufferers may experience total body hair loss, which is known as alopecia universalis.
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