Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2008 Jul;56(3):318-33.
Willemsen R, Vanderlinden J. Department of Dermatology, Academic Hospital UZ Brussel, Brussels, Belgium.
Alopecia areata (AA) is an autoimmune disease leading to loss of scalp hairs. The disease seems triggered by stress. Data on the possibility of using hypnotherapy in the treatment of AA are very limited. Twenty-eight patients with extensive AA, all refractory to previous conventional treatment, were treated with hypnosis at the Academic Hospital UZ Brussel, Brussels, Belgium. This paper describes in detail the authors' hypnotherapeutic approach combining symptom-oriented suggestions with suggestions to improve self-esteem. Twelve out of 21 patients, including 4 with total loss of scalp hair, presented a significant hair growth. All patients presented a significant decrease in scores for anxiety and depression. Although the exact mechanism of hypnotic interventions has not been elucidated, the authors' results demonstrate that hypnotic interventions may ameliorate the clinical outcome of patients with AA and may improve their psychological well-being.