Use of hypnosis, meditation, and biofeedback in dermatology

Philip D Shenefelt
Clinics in Dermatology 2017, 35 (3): 285-291
Hypnosis utilizes trance to access otherwise inaccessible repressed or unconscious memories and features of the psyche and control of physiology not attainable in the ordinary conscious waking state. Medical uses of hypnosis in dermatology include reducing discomfort from itching or skin pain, altering ingrained dysfunctional habits such as scratching, promoting healing of skin disorders, searching for psychosomatic aspects of skin disorders and alleviating them, and reframing cognitive and emotional dysfunctional patterns related to skin disorders. Meditation uses trance to center and balance. Medical uses of meditation in dermatology include relaxation to promote healing of skin disorders and refocusing with respect to the meaning and emotional negative valance of skin disorders. Biofeedback in dermatology employs instrumentation with visual or auditory feedback to permit conscious awareness and alteration of physiologic phenomena such as sweating as measured by galvanic skin resistance and skin temperature measured by temperature detecting devices, promoting relaxation and healing. These methods and techniques permit access to and intervention in otherwise inaccessible areas that can influence skin disorders. With proper use, they are very safe, with minimal, if any, side effects and sometimes produce significant results where other methods have failed.

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