Background: The use of psychological therapies for patients with psoriasis has been proposed based on observations that the severity of their disease may correlate with emotional stress. The aim of this pilot study was to evaluate the effect of hypnosis as a treatment modality for patients with psoriasis.
Methods: We performed a 3-month randomized, single-blind, controlled trial of the use of hypnosis in adults with stable, chronic, plaque-type psoriasis. Highly or moderately hypnotizable subjects were randomized to receive either hypnosis with active suggestions of improvement (5 patients) or neutral hypnosis with no mention of their disease process (6 patients). After this period, the study was unblinded, and all the patients were treated for an additional 3 months with hypnosis with active suggestions of improvement.
Results: Highly hypnotizable subjects showed significantly greater improvement than did moderately hypnotizable subjects, independent of treatment group assignment (active suggestion or neutral hypnosis).
Conclusion: Although this study included a very limited number of patients, the results suggest that hypnosis may be a useful therapeutic modality for highly hypnotizable subjects with psoriasis, and merits further testing in a larger patient population.