header2

Hypnosis for aller­gies and hist­amine-mediated symptoms

An inter­ac­tion of psyche and espe­cially atopic dise­ases or allergic dise­ases is often suspected. The disci­pline of psycho­neu­ro­im­mu­no­logy picks up on this and shows how a change in stress hormone secre­tion or pain inter­feres with the immune system. This can create an unfa­vor­able cycle, as in turn, the inflamma­tory messen­gers produced by stress and immune dysre­gu­la­tion can nega­tively affect emotional balance.1

Hypnosis has been shown in small studies to have a posi­tive effect on the following symptoms and diseases:

  • Hay fever
  • Neuro­der­ma­titis / atopic dermatitis
  • Urti­caria
  • Itchung

Psoriasis, an auto­im­mune disease, was posi­tively influ­enced by hypno­the­rapy in smaller studues, which is why it is discussed in detail in the article on hypnosis in auto­im­mune dise­ases.

This article does not want to present atopic, allergic or mast cell mediated dise­ases as psycho­so­matic dise­ases that can be reme­died by hypnosis only. Nevertheless, in this review, biolo­gical corre­la­tions between a stress response and the immune system are to be pointed out, and studies are to be compiled in which hypno­the­rapy posi­tively affects allergy symptoms or the course of the disease.

This article is about a health issue. It is important that you have your symptoms examined and treated by medical profes­sio­nals. This article is not intended to be, and cannot be, a substi­tute for the care and advice of medical profes­sio­nals that may be avail­able to you.

Hypnosis for hay fever and allergies

In a study of 66 hay fever pati­ents, half of whom learned self-hypnosis tech­ni­ques in the first year and the other half served as a control group, there was a signi­fi­cant impro­ve­ment in allergic symptoms.2

The control group, which had not previously expe­ri­enced hypno­the­rapy, was invited to learn self-hypnosis tech­ni­ques in the second year: this also resulted in symptom relief in this group.

Like­wise, nasal breat­hing improved under self-hypnosis, although the effect did not always reach statis­tical signi­fi­cance. The rese­ar­chers saw the most signi­fi­cant impro­ve­ment when pati­ents hypno­tized them­selves after being exposed to grass pollen in a provo­ca­tion test. The nose remained signi­fi­cantly clearer in some subjects under self-hypnosis than without.

Thus, under self-hypnosis, some of the parti­ci­pants were able to alter or influ­ence their immune response. According to the authors, hypnosis and trance ability did not play a role in this study.2

Reduced hist­amine wheals during hypnosis

Another inte­res­ting study was conducted with 10 well-hypno­tiz­able subjects, exami­ning the skin response to a hist­amine prick test under pain stimuli and hypnosis.3

In a prick test, aller­gens are usually intro­duced into the top layer of the skin. Hist­amine is consi­dered a control field, since a reac­tion to this tissue hormone is usually expected in the form of a wheal or redness

In the inves­ti­ga­tion set-up, the rese­ar­chers wanted to examine the connec­tions between pain stress stimuli and inflamma­tory processes and whether these can be influ­enced by hypnosis. Pain stimuli were applied by utili­zing a laser.

The hist­amine wheal under hypnotic anal­gesia, i.e., pain relief by hypnosis, was signi­fi­cantly smaller than without hypnosis. This study also showed that pain/stress stimuli appear to play a role in skin inflamma­tory processes.3

Diffe­rent skin responses to hist­amine when expe­ri­en­cing emotions such as anger, sadness, and joy

Diffe­rent skin responses to hist­amine when expe­ri­en­cing emotions such as anger, sadness, and joy

Simi­larly, another expe­ri­ment examined how emotions elicited under hypnosis affect skin responses in the hist­amine prick test. It showed that under the sugges­tion of joy, the response to hist­amine reached its peak after two minutes but took four minutes to its peak under sadness. Anger was also asso­ciated with a more prolonged and signi­fi­cant skin response than joy.4

Stress influ­ences allergic diseases

People with aller­gies and mast cell dise­ases often also have the personal expe­ri­ence that strong anger or sadness nega­tively influ­ences the condi­tion. These afore­men­tioned studies confirm inter­ac­tions between the nervous system and the immune system.

For example, states of tension result in acti­va­tion of the sympa­thetic nervous system, which is also known as the “fight and flight” state. Stressful stimuli also cause more stress hormones, inclu­ding cortisol, to be released because our central hub for hormone regu­la­tion — the hypo­tha­lamus with pitui­tary gland — stimu­lates the adrenal gland to do so.

Nervous and hormonal systems interact with each other, and there is also a release of diffe­rent nerve growth factors, which can increase inflamma­tion. In general, this leads to a shift of the immune system towards an allergic immune response (TH2).

effects of stress on immune system

Subjects with a strong reac­tion to hist­amine seem to be parti­cu­larly well hypnotizable

In addi­tion to the already expected reac­tion that persons in a happy state had less severe skin reac­tions, another striking feature was found in the above mentioned study: subjects who were parti­cu­larly well hypno­tiz­able had stronger reac­tions to hist­amine in the skin prick test compared to persons who were not as recep­tive to hypnosis.4

However, it is still unclear why such a corre­la­tion might exist, and in addi­tion to studies that have found this effect, there have again been those that have failed to demons­trate this corre­la­tion.1,3,4

Inte­res­tingly rese­ar­chers found clus­ters of gene muta­tions affec­ting hist­amine degra­dation more frequently in people with atopic dise­ases, asthma, and migraine.5–8 hese so-called poly­mor­phisms affect the hist­amine balance, which could affect the psyche and the suscep­ti­bi­lity to hypnosis.

Hypnosis and hives (urti­caria)

Urti­caria is a skin disease charac­te­rized by wheal forma­tion and the appearance of swel­lings, so-called angio­e­dema. Often hist­amine, as one of the main trig­ge­ring media­tors, plays a major role in the forma­tion of the symptoms of urticaria.

Suppose hypnosis affects the skin’s response under hist­amine provo­ca­tion, as it did in the expe­ri­ments mentioned above. In that case, it is at least likely that hypno­the­rapy could also be helpful in a propor­tion of pati­ents with hives. In fact, there is a small study of 15 subjects with hives in which hypnosis was found to be effec­tive. It had a parti­cu­larly good effect on itching.9,10

Here, however, in contrast to the hay fever study, there was a diffe­rence between hypno­tiz­able and rather non-hypno­tiz­able subjects. But both groups bene­fited from the inter­ven­tion. Hypno­the­rapy helped the people who were some­what more suscep­tible to hypnosis slightly more in this setting.9

Use of hypnosis for atopic eczema

Atopic derma­titis, also known as atopic eczema or neuro­der­ma­titis, is a common chronic skin condi­tion often asso­ciated with severely itchy skin.

In a study published as recently as 2020, the authors showed that 26 out of 27 suffe­rers with atopic derma­titis bene­fited from hypno­the­rapy. The symptom scale decre­ased from 12 at base­line to an average of 2.8 points at the last appointment.

On average, six hypnosis sessions were performed with each patient, with an indi­vi­dual range of 2 to 16 sessions. However, there was no control group.11

Summary

Hypnosis seems to have posi­tive effects on allergic and atopic dise­ases. How signi­fi­cant the impact is and in whom hypno­the­rapy works parti­cu­larly well is diffi­cult to say since the studies often consisted of few parti­ci­pants and did not always include a control group.

In addi­tion, as with almost all chronic illnesses, one has the problem that these usually fluc­tuate throughout a person’s life. For this reason alone, there can be impro­ve­ments and dete­rio­ra­tions that have nothing to do with the intervention.

Also, not every person can be hypno­tized equally well, and in the case of self-hypnosis, it depends greatly on how often pati­ents use and prac­tice the tech­nique. Nevertheless, I consider hypno­the­rapy to be an exci­ting oppor­tu­nity with prac­ti­cally nonexis­tent side effects if used correctly. It even gives the affected person the possi­bi­lity, for example, in the context of self-hypnosis, to take action against their illness themselves.

My personal expe­ri­ence with hypnosis with hist­amine-mediated problems

As a hypno­the­ra­pist and sufferer of recur­rent allergic reac­tions and angio­e­dema, self-hypnosis can provide me with some relief with regard to distres­sing symptoms such as itching.

I am curr­ently expe­ri­men­ting with forms of hypnosis that suggest to the patient what physical processes he/she should influ­ence to improve their symptoms. Derzeit expe­ri­men­tiere ich mit Hypno­se­formen, die dem Pati­enten bzw. der Pati­entin sugge­rieren, welche körper­li­chen Vorgänge er/sie beein­flussen soll, um seine Symptome zu verbessern.

I was inspired by a study of children with IgA defi­ci­ency. IgA defi­ci­ency is a compa­ra­tively common immun­ode­fi­ci­ency. In this study, children were allowed to use self-hypnosis with sugges­tions of their choice to try to increase their IgA produc­tion. However, this was only successful in the group in which medi­cally correct and specific sugges­tions were given. In this group, IgA levels incre­ased signi­fi­cantly.12

Accord­ingly, in hypnotic inter­ven­tions, I try to work with the bioche­mical processes in the body and give concrete sugges­tions. I am curious to see how this plays out and will report back.😊

Refe­rences

1. Liez­mann C, Klapp B, Peters EM. Stress, atopy and allergy: A re-evalua­tion from a psycho­neu­ro­im­mu­no­logic perse­pec­tive. Dermato­en­docrinol. 2011;3(1):37–40. doi:10.4161/derm.3.1.14618

2. Lange­witz W, Izakovic J, Wyler J, Schindler C, Kiss A, Bircher AJ. Effect of self-hypnosis on hay fever symptoms — a rando­mised controlled inter­ven­tion study. Psycho­ther Psychosom. 2005;74(3):165–172. doi:10.1159/000084001

3. Zacha­riae R, Bjer­ring P. The effect of hypno­ti­cally induced anal­gesia on flare reac­tion of the cuta­neous hist­amine prick test. Arch Dermatol Res. 1990;282(8):539–543. doi:10.1007/BF00371950

4. Zacha­riae R, Jørgensen MM, Egek­vist H, Bjer­ring P. Skin reac­tions to hist­amine of healthy subjects after hypno­ti­cally induced emotions of sadness, anger, and happi­ness. Allergy. 2001;56(8):734–740. doi:10.1034/j.1398–9995.2001.056008734.x

5. Petersen J, Drasche A, Raithel M, Schwel­berger HG. Analysis of genetic poly­mor­phisms of enzymes involved in hist­amine meta­bo­lism. Inflamm res. 2003;52(1):s69-s70. doi:10.1007/s000110300059

6. Agúndez JAG, Ayuso P, Cornejo-García JA, et al. The Diamine Oxidase Gene Is Asso­ciated with Hyper­sen­si­ti­vity Response to Non-Stero­idal Anti-Inflamma­tory Drugs. PLoS One. 2012;7(11). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0047571

7. García-Martín E, Martínez C, Serrador M, et al. Diamine Oxidase rs10156191 and rs2052129 Vari­ants Are Asso­ciated With the Risk for Migraine. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain. 2015;55(2):276–286. doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/head.12493

8. Agúndez JAG, Luengo A, Herráez O, et al. Nonsyn­ony­mous poly­mor­phisms of hist­amine-meta­bo­li­sing enzymes in pati­ents with Parkinson’s disease. Neuro­mole­cular Med. 2008;10(1):10–16. doi:10.1007/s12017-007‑8017‑7

9. Shertzer CL, Looking­bill DP. Effects of rela­xa­tion therapy and hypno­tiza­bi­lity in chronic urti­caria. Arch Dermatol. 1987;123(7):913–916.

10. Shene­felt PD. Mind­ful­ness-Based Cogni­tive Hypno­the­rapy and Skin Disor­ders. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. 2018;61(1):34–44. doi:10.1080/00029157.2017.1419457

11. Delaitre L, Denis J, Mail­lard H. Hypnosis in Treat­ment of Atopic Derma­titis: A Clinical Study. Inter­na­tional Journal of Clinical and Expe­ri­mental Hypnosis. 2020;68(4):412–418. doi:10.1080/00207144.2020.1788391

12. Olness K, Culbert T, Uden D. Self-regu­la­tion of sali­vary immu­no­glo­bulin A by children. Pediatrics. 1989;83(1):66–71.

www | + posts

Natur­o­path, hypno­the­ra­pist, owner of an immune system gone crazy with various auto­im­mune special effects. She likes reading through medical papers and is an avid learner of all things regar­ding the human immune system. When her joints and body allow it: enthu­si­astic do-it-your­selfer around the house.

Immunoloco unterstützen

immunoloco möchte Betroffenen kostenlos gute und hilfreiche Informationen rund um ein verrücktes Immunsystem bieten. Du findest das gut? Dann unterstütze immunoloco und meine Arbeit doch gerne durch eine kleine Spende. 

Leave a Reply