Monday, August 25

A shrink for your skin?

Ever heard of a psychodermatologist? Apparently this type of doctor exists to help your skin through various methods of therapy. Psychodermatology is therapy for the skin and consists of different methods. Psychotherapy is the most common treatment, but meditation, hypnosis, biofeedback, and an assortment of relaxation are also standard treatments (District Chronicles, 2007).

Creams and lotions may ease the discomfort of skin problems, but through psychodermatology the real cause of the problem can be identified and healed. The field focuses on the mind-body connection, shifting between dermatology and psychiatry, and uses alternative methods such as relaxation, biofeedback, self-hypnosis or psychotherapy. According to a quote from Dr. Ted Grossbart, an assistant clinical professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School and author of Skin Deep: A New Mind/Body Program for Healthy Skin by “An estimated 30 to 60 percent of people who come to a doctor for help with skin problems also have emotional issues that are churning as well."

From that same article, the following scientific evidence and amazing results from real patients can lend to the credibility of this new field:
In August 2006, the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology published a study that found 57 percent of patients suffering from alopecia (or hair loss) had total or partial hair regrowth after undergoing hypnosis. And a series of small studies conducted at Carleton University in Canada found half of patients lost their warts after undergoing hypnosis.

Relaxation tapes, meanwhile, have been shown to help those suffering from psoriasis; researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School discovered that patients who listened to meditation tapes while receiving UV light treatments saw their skin clear up nearly four times faster than those who got the light treatment alone. And in a case report published in the journal Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, a 56-year-old woman who suffered from severe psoriasis lesions on her arms for seven years despite trying all the standard medical treatments was cured after 13 weeks of biofeedback therapy.

I was disconcerted to discover I am experiencing the same dilemma. I started feeling some itchiness on my back near my shoulder blades. Later the skin irritation spread down my back and my buttocks. It was uncomfortable to say the least. But after listening to music for a few minutes, the itchiness went away.

With my place so near the main road and the sound of moving trucks, cars and speeding motorbikes intruding constantly into my room, I can not relax as much as I can. I have lately been working the night shift so this aggravates my lack of rest. A relaxation technique such as listening to music can help without using skin creams. It also drowns out the traffic noise outside.

Keeping our minds and body free of stress can also help us achieve smooth healthy and clear skin.

Does your skin need a shrink?
Good skin care a psychodermatologist away

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