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Hypnosis May Reduce Certain Hair Loss

by Shirley Archer, JD, MA on Jan 01, 2007

Mind-body strategies may reduce hair loss without risk of adverse side effects. Alopecia areata is a type of patchy hair loss associated with psychological factors such as stress, trauma or negative family circumstances. Researchers chose to evaluate hypnotherapy as a possible treatment for this condition because hypnosis has already proved effective in reducing stress and anxiety related to asthma and irritable bowel syndrome.

In a preliminary study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (2006; 55 [2], 233–77), investigators followed 21 patients with alopecia areata. Subjects received hypnosis treatments along with other care once every 3 weeks for periods lasting from 6 months to 6 years.

Twelve patients experienced hair growth on at least 75% of the scalp after only three to four hypnotherapy sessions; in nine of these cases, 100% of the hair grew back. Five of the 12 suffered a relapse during the follow-up period, but no patients experienced any negative side effects.

Hypnosis might be a valuable therapy for patients with alopecia areata, the researchers concluded. They noted, however, that study findings were limited by the small number of participants. A large randomized, controlled trial would be needed to further explore the benefits of hypnotherapy.

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About the Author

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA IDEA Author/Presenter

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, was the 2008 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year and is IDEA's mind-body-spirit spokesperson. She is a certified yoga and Pilates teacher and an award-winning author based in Los Angeles, California, and Zurich, Switzerland. Two of her books, The Walking Deck and The Strength and Toning Deck, are now featured as iPhone apps. Contact her at www.shirleyarcher.com.