I always like to keep my readers informed about hypnosis in the news. Below is an article from a Swiss newspaper called "Garavi Gujarar" and was published on July 7, 2005.
Allergies: It is all in the mind, claim researchers
SELF-HYPNOSIS could help relieve symptoms of seasonal allergies, claim a team of Swiss researchers who conducted tests to find that simply focusing one`s thoughts on allergen-free environment can reduce the symptom of hay fever by one-third. The release of plant pollens during spring triggers allergies and hay fever affects about 10 to 15 per cent of adult population in industrialized countries. To treat this, people turn to medications such as antihistamines, decongestants and sometimes steroids. But these can cause side-effects such as drowsiness, dry mouth and raised blood pressure. Allergy sufferers have sought alternatives approaches, including psychotherapy-related methods, to ease their itchy eyes and runny noses. Wolf Langewitz of the University Hospital Basel, in Switzerland, and his colleagues sought to find out how well self-hypnosis works. The team recruited 79 patients with moderate to severe allergic reactions to grass or tree pollen, who then received training on self-hypnosis. The Swiss researchers instructed the participants to imagine they were in a place where allergies do not torture them, such as on the beach or the ski slopes. Langewitz encouraged his patients to think about glittering snow crystals, chilly temperatures and other snowy phenomena, in order to tap into as many channels of perception as possible. About 40 patients stuck with the regime for roughly two years, and were tested for their biological response to allergens: they were exposed to pollen and their congestion was assessed. The participants were tested twice, once in the absence of self-hypnosis, and once after practicing this form of therapy. Their symptoms, as measured by the congestion test and from simply asking the patients how they felt, dropped by a third thanks to hypnosis. To achieve successful results using self-hypnosis, Langewitz said that one must first enter a trance-like state and then focus the mind on a particular theme. The whole process, he added, can take as little as five minutes. Kathleen Sheerin, of the Atlanta Allergy and Asthma Clinic in Atlanta, Georgia, said that the study is interesting, but added that patients may have been more influenced by their belief that the treatment would work than by the hypnosis itself. Langewitz admitted that the findings are preliminary and a bigger study is needed. But, as he put it, “We felt that the results were encouraging enough to tell people to try it, because this intervention is free of side-effects."