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Eczema / Skin Problems

Hypnotherapy notes

Our skin is our largest organ and can often mirror what is happening in our unconscious minds. If we are stressed our skin may let us know by "flaring-up" and in effect giving us an indicator (should we need one!) that we need to relax or address some of these underlying issues.

Some contend that most skin conditions have a psychological cause or component.

Hypnotherapy can assist by boosting the ego, relieving stress / anxiety, breaking the itch / scratch cycle, calming swollen tissues and addressing underlying issues if required.

Eczema is the general term used to describe various itchy skin diseases. It is not a very precise term and the disease that most people call 'eczema' is known medically as 'atopic dermatitis'. Dermatitis simply means inflammation of the skin.

What is atopic dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis is a very common skin problem. It affects approximately 20 per cent of children at some point but most of them grow out of it. But approximately 2 to 4 per cent of the adult population is affected. In the last 30 years, atopic dermatitis has become more common in the UK.

What causes atopic dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Genetic factors

Atopic dermatitis tends to run in families. A child with atopic dermatitis is likely to have another atopic condition, such as asthma or hay fever, or at least be related to someone with one.

Several genes have been linked to atopic dermatitis although the connection is not clear. It is likely that a complex combination of genes allows an environmental trigger to cause atopic dermatitis.


  • House dust mites.
  • Skin infections, such as the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus.
  • Stress.
  • Food, particularly cow's milk, eggs or occasionally soya.
  • Hard water as you may need to use more soap, which irritates the skin.
  • Fewer childhood infections.

What are the symptoms?

Itching in association with either wet, weeping skin or dry, scaly red skin, which affects:

  • skin creases around the neck, in the elbows and knees, and on the wrist and ankles.
  • the face (especially around the eyes), the scalp, and in severe cases the whole body.

With an infection the skin can become sore and crusted. This may be a sign of infection either with bacteria (usually staphylococcus) or less commonly with the cold sore virus (herpes simplex).

Research: From the Forward of Self-Hypnosis: A Conditioned-Response Technique by Laurance Sparks

Published by Wilshire Book Company, 8721 Sunset Blvd.

"One of our first patients was a 48 year old man who presented himself with acute dermatitis involving 80 per cent of his skin area. He had been referred by a specialist from southern California who had treated him for eight years without benefit. I treated him for two years by traditional methods, and the patient remained so severely involved that he was unable to work. He was taking steroids, antihistamines, tranquilizer and multiple topical applications. Under hypnosis, material was elicited which was used to help diminish his anxieties; with self-hypnosis he was able to control the itching and to reinforce his acceptance of new values and a new role for himself. After six weeks his skin was entirely clear, and he has been working now for two and one-half years and has taken no medication whatsoever." Duncan A. Holbert, M.D. Santa Cruz, California

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Last updated 15 April 2024

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