It has been almost one year since I nervously sat next to a crackling fire in my living room, about to be hypnotized for the first time. I was completely petrified, scared to let my psyche and willpower (or so I thought) be placed in the hands of another person. I wasn’t being hypnotized to help me quit smoking, lose weight, or gain confidence, I was experimenting with hypnosis to see if I could could bring relief to my chronic eczema, something I have suffered from since I was 18 months old.
It doesn’t take a medical professional to know that hypnosis can’t magically heal cuts, rashes, and sores- it’s not witchcraft or a secret spell. However, what it can do is retrain the way your brain processes stress, whether it is every day stress or major life changes which can all impact eczema, as well as thousands of other medical conditions and symptoms.
If there were a perfect definition of a “viscous cycle”, eczema would be it. You wake up one morning with a tiny rough patch of skin on your face, and you stare at it and stress about it so much that you no longer see your face in the mirror, just a hideous, red, blotchy patch of skin. You poke at it, squeeze it, and pull at it until it grows from pea-sized to quarter-sized. Others probably wouldn’t even notice it, but its all you can think about. Your head is filled with negative and anxious thoughts like “is this going to turn into a full-faced or full-bodied eczema flare?”, “How long will this one last?”, and ” Is this going to ruin my weekend plans because I can’t wear makeup and it hurts to smile?” Because you are stressing and agonizing so much, it does become the eczema flare you were so scared of. Then you stress even more because your skin looks horrible and you don’t want to leave your house, and it flares even worse. It’s a vicious cycle and a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I have always been aware that my emotions and stress levels impact my eczema, but I had no idea how much they were exacerbating the problem. I would desperately try to snap out of the negative thought patterns, knowing they weren’t helping, but it wasn’t until I used hypnosis that I was finally set free from them. And my eczema has never been better. I honestly don’t believe doctors put enough stress on how detrimental our thought patterns and emotions can be on a condition like eczema. I have spent most of my life trying to figure out my triggers and at one point even believed I was allergic to THE SUN. There are absolute triggers that need to be figured out in order to help control the condition, but I wish more eczema sufferers would consider tackling their skin condition from the inside out, starting with the brain.
Now when my skin is angry and in the beginning stages of a full on flare, my routine doesn’t involve staring in the mirror and feeling sorry for myself like I used to. Instead, I pop in my hypnosis CD and within seconds I am whisked away into a comfortable, stress-free, relaxing place.
Make yourself comfortable in your seat, find a position that you can keep without effort and just relax your body while you listen to this tape. Keep your thoughts on my words and picture in your mind the things that I’m going to talk about. Allow my words to effect your mind and your body freely so that you can experience all the benefits from this exercise.
Those words melt out of my speakers and I am instantly calm. I can feel my pulse slow down, my breathing becoming rhythmic, and my body going limp. 15 minutes later I wake up from my hypnotic state not feeling stressed about my skin, or anything for that matter. Hypnosis has allowed my subconscious to create and believe new thought patterns. Now when I have an eczema flare, my automatic response is “Oh well, it will only last a few days and it’s not like it has to change my mood or attitude. Eczema doesn’t define who I am, it doesn’t even matter.” The hypnosis CD reaches a subconscious level of my brain that I cannot tap into on my own, it has retrained my brain and the way it processes my chronic condition.
And like magic, because of these new thought patterns, my skin doesn’t get worse. Within a few hours of doing the hypnosis CD, my skin feels less irritated and has visibly reduced in redness and rashiness. At first I thought it was a coincidence but it’s now been 11 months since I started the hypnosis CD for my eczema and it has been 11 months since I’ve had a bad eczema flare. My medication use has dropped down to almost none, I am able to use an over the counter moisturizer and for the first time in my life, it is enough. Sure, there are times I’ll break out and momentarily think “man, this is a bit of a bummer”, but the irritation never lasts more than 24 hours. Some eczema flares I’ve had have lasted months. It’s not a coincidence. I have nearly forgotten what it feels like to stress about my skin and that in itself is a HUGE blessing. The disease that once left bruises on my face from crying so much suddenly seems like as much of an annoyance as a paper cut.
The truly wonderful thing is that I have been able to use hypnosis for ailments other than eczema. I’ve used it to improve my mood, menstrual cramps, headaches, anxiety, insomnia, and stress. Hypnosis has been such a gift to me, to my sanity, to my skin. I am so thankful that 11 months ago I went out on a limb and tried something new for a frustrating, depressing, and all-consuming condition. I have a feeling hypnosis and I have a promising future together.