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Treatment of Warts with Hypnosis

Patients are more likely to develop warts when they experience stress.

Key points

  • Warts affect 5-10% of children and often involve adolescents between the ages of 12 and 16.
  • Most warts resolve on their own within 2 years of their occurrence.
  • Hypnotic “freezing” can be effective in the treatment of warts.
Lena Prokopenko/Shutterstock
Source: Lena Prokopenko/Shutterstock

Common warts are caused by an infection of the top layer of the skin from human papillomavirus. The infection causes the skin cells to grow quickly, which leads to the development of the wart. Warts affect 5-10% of children and often involve adolescents between the ages of 12 and 16. They are frequently found on hands and feet. Warts are contagious, in that children can develop them after shaking hands or playing with an affected individual. It is unknown why some people are more prone to the development of warts, but it is recognized that patients are more likely to develop warts when they are stressed.

Common Treatments for Warts

Most warts resolve on their own within 2 years of their occurrence. However, many times patients seek treatment because they do not like their appearance or they interfere with walking. Therapies for warts include application to the skin of salicylic acid for several weeks, use of liquid nitrogen to freeze the warts, and even application of duct tape to the warts every few days for a number of weeks.

Hypnosis for Warts

The warts in pre-adolescent children usually resolve with use of hypnosis. For example, children can be treated by application of an imaginary freezing agent to the wart. In my clinic I take a pen tip and touch it firmly to a wart. I then invite the child to imagine that the tip is becoming very cold. I suggest that it will become so cold that at some point it might hurt a bit, and ask the child to let me know when that happens. At some point the child says that it hurts. I then suggest that the tip will become even colder so that the wart becomes numb, and ask the child to let me know when that happens. The treatment is complete once the child says the wart has become numb. One such “freezing” session typically is sufficient to cause a wart to resolve within a couple of weeks.

Other hypnotic wart removal techniques involved the child’s imagining that the wart is erased, imagining that they are tying a string around the base of the wart until it is choked off, or even talking to the wart and telling it to leave (Ewin, 1992).

With adolescents and adults, sometimes the subconscious needs to be involved directly in resolution of the warts, because they are associated with a psychological stressor that is related to their perpetuation. In such cases the subconscious can help identify and deal with the stressor, with a subsequent improvement of the warts.

The mechanism underlying resolution of warts with the aid of hypnosis is unclear. Perhaps hypnosis related changes in the nervous and circulatory systems lead to decreased blood supply to the warts that causes them to fall off.

Takeaway

Use of hypnosis to treat warts typically is rapidly effective in children.

Copyright Ran D. Anbar

References

Ewin, Dabney M. 1992 “Hypnotherapy for warts (verruca vulgaris): 41 consecutive cases with 33 cures.” American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. 35:1-10.

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