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Hypnosis for Skin Procedures and Disorders
Philip Shenefelt, MD, ABMH
The skin and the nervous system begin together as ectoderm in the fetus. They remain closely connected and continue to influence each other strongly throughout life. Stress, negative feelings, and undesirable behaviors such as scratching or picking or noncompliance with the prescribed treatment can adversely affect many skin disorders. Conversely, having a serious or cosmetically disfiguring skin disorder can negatively affect the psyche in many patients. Hypnosis can help patients deal with the emotional and physical impact that the skin disease has on their lives. This workshop will present the uses of hypnosis for relaxation for skin procedures and for calming, reframing, ameliorating, or resolving skin disorders. It will include published research-based evidence ratings for the effectiveness of hypnosis for various skin disorders. Experiential eyeroll rapid induction and self-guided imagery will be included. The effective use of medical psychosomatic hypnoanalysis for treating selected resistant skin disorders will be discussed.
The attendee may use hypnosis as a tool to assist patients to become calmer and view their skin problems more positively. Its calming effects can ease preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative anxiety and discomfort and result in fewer complications and more rapid healing. The somatic effects induced by hypnosis can also reduce inflammation through psychoneuroimmunoendocrine mechanisms. In some cases such as with viral warts, hypnosis has been used to trigger the immune response to induce resolution of the skin disorder.