We all know intuitively that stress and skin problems go hand in hand, but the medical community has only just begun to really explore the connection—and tailor treatments for psoriasis, acne, eczema, and even warts accordingly. “Up until very recently, the American Academy of Dermatology was saying that stress was not a factor in acne,” says Ted Grossbart, PhD, a professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School and author of Skin Deep: A New Mind/Body Program for Healthy Skin (Health Press, 1992), “even though everyone and their grandmother knew that you got the pimple before the big date.” Coincidence? Grossbart and others don’t think so. A growing field of integrative medicine called psychodermatology probes this mind-skin connection.
Research has shown that 30 to 60 percent of people who seek medical care for skin conditions have some kind of emotional turmoil going on as well and those emotional issues can not only trigger skin disorders, they can keep the most medically advanced regimens from working.
Evidence at Clear Skin Victoria
Being an integrated skin health clinic, Clear Skin Victoria practitioners co-treat and work closely with other mind-body practitioners in the community. “We are starting to see some great successes with patients seeking skin therapy,” says owner Kristina Hewlett, “when we combine patient treatment plans to include medical laser therapy and “pure” skin care products along with stress management therapy such as acupuncture, massage and adrenal health remedies through our naturopathic department. Working closely with other practitioners in the community, we also see great successes when referring patients for yoga, energy healing, meditation, counseling and athletic therapy (with stress management focused exercise programs). Results become much more long-term when our clients are looking at their skin/mind connection in a holistic way and are learning what it takes to keep their minds calm and stress low.”
Charting your own course
Despite all the evidence supporting them, mind-centered treatments are no magic bullet. Unlike traditional topical and ingested remedies, the success of mind-body treatments depends as much on the individual as the disease. That is, hypnosis and counseling might work for one person, while more physical regimens like t’ai chi and yoga may work better for someone else. As anyone who has ever engaged in a mind-body practice can tell you, learning to manage your emotions and finding your groove with a relaxation technique takes time and effort. Therefore, one may need to try several different forms of mind-centered treatments to see which ones are most effective. Clear Skin’s team of doctors, skin specialists and laser technicians will do their best to provide each client with referrals to treatment options suitable to their individual needs, lifestyle and beliefs.