Hypnosis and Allergies


Allergic reactions

Study 1: Hypnosis and Allergies – Skin Responses
Effect of hypnosis on allergic skin responses in asthma and hayfever.
http://www.bmj.com/highwire/filestream/228584/field_highwire_article_pdf/0/1145

Results: A significant diminution in the size of the weal was obtained in the hypnosis group at the lower two strengths of allergen. In the second part of the investigation, all participants were hypnotized and experienced a similar decrease.

Notes: Forty-seven subjects with known skin sensitivity to pollen and/or house-dust were divided into five groups and tested with four strengths of allergen. The prick-test method was employed. In the first part of the investigation a group of unhypnotized subjects were compared with a group who had suggestions made under hypnosis that their skin reactions to the allergen would not occur when tested a second time. In the second part of the investigation the subjects were divided into three groups. All were hypnotized, no suggestions regarding skin reactions were given to one group, the second group were given suggestions that only on one arm would the skin reactions be less or not recur, and in the third group the suggestion was made about the reactions on both arms. There was found to be a similar decrease in the response to prick-tests after hypnosis in all three groups.

Brit. Med. J. 1964:114S.1 148.
By: L. Fry, A. A. Mason, R. S. Pearson, Kings College Hospital, London

Study 2: Use of Hypnosis for Allergies Influenced by Psychological Events or Fear/Anxiety
Abreaction During Systematic Desensitization Under Hypnosis for Food Allergy [translated from Japanese].
http://ci.nii.ac.jp/naid/110001119115

Results: The authors of this paper state that it is well known that some food allergies are heavily influenced by psychological events and that fear and anxiety can play a role in this process. Then they describe the case of a 52-year-old woman who was admitted to hospital because of an allergic reaction caused by eating fish. She had only recently developed this allergy and when the authors of this study used hypnosis to uncover the cause, they found it was linked to the fear and anger she felt towards her ex-husband and her children’s attempt to get her to reconcile with him. After this fear and anger was released during hypnosis she no longer continued to have an allergy to fish.

Japanese Society of Psychosomatic Medicine 34(4); 329-333, 1994
By: I. Junko, M. Yoichi, A. Hiroyuki, T. Hideki, N. Tetsuya
Ishimoto Junko, Department of Psychosomatic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Kyushu University
Matsuoka Yoichi, Health Administration Center, University of the Ryukyus
Aoki Hiroyuki, Department of Psychosomatic Medicine, Kita-Kyushu Municipal Medical Center
Teshima Hideki, Department of Psychosomatic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Kyushu University
Nakagawa Tetsuya, Department of Studies on Life-Long Development and Education, Fukuoka Prefectural University

types-of-allergies

Study 3: Self-Hypnosis for Hay Fever

Effect of Self-Hypnosis on Hay Fever Symptoms – A Randomised Controlled Intervention Study.
http://bscw.rediris.es/pub/bscw.cgi/d4527335/Langewitz-Effect_self_hypnosis_hay_fever_symptoms.pdf

Results: After the first allergy season was over, the subjects using self-hypnosis reported that they experienced (on average) a 29.2 % reduction of their symptoms and a 26.2% improvement in their overall well-being, when compared to a control group. And while there were no further improvements between the first and second year of the study, the gains that were made the first year were maintained.

Notes: Seventy-nine subjects who were moderately to severely allergic to birch pollen and grass were taught how to practice self-hypnosis to decrease their allergic reactions and increase their feelings of well-being. The researchers managed to follow 52 of them over the next two years (or two complete allergy seasons).

Psychother Psychosom 2005;74:165-172
By: W. Langewitza, Division of Psychosomatic Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine
Jan Izakovicb, Allergy Unit, Department of Dermatology, University Hospital Basel
Jane Wylerc, Allergy Unit, Department of Dermatology, University Hospital BaseL
Christian Schindlerd, Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland

Study 4: Hypnotically Induced Analgesia for Flare Reactions
The Effect of Hypnotically Induced Analgesia on Flare Reaction of the Cutaneous Histamine Prick Test.
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00371950#page-1

Results: Participants reported a 71.7% reduction in the pain during hypnosis. The researchers also noted that there was a significant reduction in the histamine flare area when the subject was hypnotized (as compared to the size of the histamine flare area that occurred in the pre and post hypnosis tests).

Notes: Ten highly hypnotizable subjects were recruited for this study. They were given a histamine prick test (which will cause a painful red welt to form on the skin) before, during and after a single hypnosis session (where they were given the hypnotic suggestion to experience analgesia in their arm). The subjects rated their feeling of pain on a visual analogue scale and reported a 71.7% reduction in the pain during hypnosis. The researchers also noted that there was a significant reduction in the histamine flare area when the subject was hypnotized (as compared to the size of the histamine flare area that occurred in the pre and post hypnosis tests).

Archives of Dermatological Research, Vol 282(8) Dec. 1990: 539-43
By: R. Zachariae, Institute of Psychology, University of Aarhus, Denmark
P. Bjerring, Dept. of Dermatology, Marselisborg Hospital, Denmark

Study 5: Hypnosis can Decrease or even Increase Allergic Skin Reactions
Increase and Decrease of Delayed Cutaneous Reactions Obtained By Hypnotic Suggestions During Sensitization Studies On Dinitrochlorobenzene and Diphenylcyclopropenone.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8457027

Results: The researchers found a significant difference in the allergic skin reaction between these two groups described below. Proving that hypnosis can both increase and decrease an allergic reaction.

Notes: Sixteen highly hypnotizable subjects were recruited to test how their skin reacted to two drugs (DNCB and DCP). They were randomly assigned to two groups. Using a combination of direct suggestion and guided imagery, hypnosis was used to heighten the immunological response to these drugs in one group and to reduce it in the other group. They were then sent them home and only brought back one month later for the actual skin-prick test.

Allergy Vol. 48(1):6-11
By: R. Zachariae, Institute of Psychology, University of Aarhus, Denmark
P. Bjerring, Dept. of Dermatology, Marselisborg Hospital, Denmark

Study 6: Hypnotizing a Person to Feel Sadness to Increase Allergic Reaction
Skin Reactions to Histamine of Healthy Subjects After Hypnotically Induced Emotions Of Sadness, Anger, and Happiness.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11488666

Results: The authors of this study begin by noting some of the anecdotal reports that claim emotions can increase allergic reactions. In an attempt to verify this, they recruited 15 highly hypnotizable subjects and gave them each a histamine prick test and then measured the size of the flare-up on the subject’s skin at specific intervals. They then repeated this after hypnotizing these subjects and inducing three emotions: sadness, happiness and anger. Happiness and anger did not cause any real changes. However, when they hypnotically induced feelings of sadness they found that there was a significant increase in the allergic reaction.

Allergy Vol. 56(8):734-740
By: R. Zachariae, Institute of Psychology, University of Aarhus, Denmark
M. M. Jørgensen, H. Egekvist, P. Bjerring, Dept. of Dermatology, Marselisborg Hospital, Denmark.

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