Hypnosis for Allergies

Allergic or hypersensitivity reactions usually are not believed to be psychosomatic and thus are generally considered as unable to be influenced by suggestion. These highly complex reactions involve IgE antibodies, activation of mast cells and basophils, and release of chemical mediators of inflammatory and immune responses.

allergiesSome early literature suggested that many allergies might have an emotional basis and thus be treatable by hypnosis and subsequent studies have shown that hypnosis may alter the body’s physiological response to various stimuli.

In a study of 18 volunteers selected for their hypnotizability, immediate-type hypersensitivity reactions were suppressed in 8 of the 12 patients given brief direct suggestions in hypnosis.

In another trial, hypnotic suggestions for relaxation reduced helper/inducer cell percentages, helper/suppressor cell ratios, and natural killer cell activity compared with prehypnosis baseline values.

Other researchers have shown the positive effects of social support on natural killer cell activity and cortisol levels and the adverse effects of stress in patients with cancer, which has implications for cancer progression.


Skin prick testing for type I (immediate) hypersensitivity and testing with purified protein derivative (in persons vaccinated previously for tuberculosis) for type IV hypersensitivity were performed before and after  hypnosis.

Patients in the hypnosis group (but not the control group) who were given suggestions for increasing or decreasing skin reactions were able to increase the flare and wheal reactions on 1 arm and decrease the flare reaction on the other, with a significant difference between the 2 arms.

The same authors later studied volunteers selected for their high hypnotizability and evaluated their reactions to histamine pin pricks and laser-induced burn pain.

Hypnosis was associated with a significant reduction in both pain and flare reactions.

Thus evidence is emerging that hypnotherapy is a safe, effective, side effect free way of treating allergies.

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