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 in 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 would take a pen tip and touch it firmly to a wart. I then invited the child to imagine that the tip is becoming very cold. I suggested that it would become so cold that at some point it might hurt a bit and asked the child to let me know when that happened. At some point the child would say that it hurt. I then suggested that the tip would become even colder so that the wart would become numb and asked the child to let me know when that happens. The treatment would be complete once the child said the wart was numb. One such freezing session typically was sufficient to cause a wart to resolve within a couple of weeks.
Other wart removal techniques involved the child 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.
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 cause them to fall off.
Take Home Message
Use of hypnosis to treat warts typically is rapidly effective in children.
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