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October 1961

Atopic Dermatitis and Hypnosis: Physiologic Stigmata Before, During, and After Hypnosis

Author Affiliations


Fellow in Dermatology, Mayo Foundation (Dr. West); Section of Dermatology, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation (Dr. Kierland), and Section of Psychiatry, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation (Dr. Litin).

Arch Dermatol. 1961;84(4):579-588. doi:10.1001/archderm.1961.01580160043005

It is now well known that patients with atopic dermatitis show abnormal vascular responses to certain intradermally and percutaneously applied substances and stimuli. It also is agreed quite generally that certain emotional states can influence the course of atopic dermatitis as well as other skin conditions. Some observers feel that the atopic patient has a characteristic personality, which plays an important role in his disease. Reports are accumulating in the literature proclaiming the beneficial effects on atopic dermatitis and other skin diseases obtained with hypnosis.

This study was made to determine what effects hypnosis has on some of the abnormal vascular responses of patients with atopic dermatitis. The vascular responses investigated included the delayed blanch reaction, the absent histamine flare, and the white-line response, which are seen frequently in patients with atopic dermatitis.

Review of Literature  In 1938, Whitfield first described the white line in atopic dermatitis seen after stroking

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