Warts Cured by Hypnosis

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This is a freakish thing mentioned by Ramachandran. He couldn't think of an obvious reason it should work.

Ewin DM.

Tulane Medical School, New Orleans, LA.

Published, controlled studies of the use of hypnosis to cure warts are confined to using direct suggestion in hypnosis (DSIH), with cure rates of 27% to 55%. Prepubertal children respond to DSIH almost without exception, but adults often do not. Clinically, many adults who fail to respond to DSIH will heal with individual hypnoanalytic techniques that cannot be tested against controls. By using hypnoanalysis on those who failed to respond to DSIH, 33 of 41 (80%) consecutive patients were cured, two were lost to follow-up, and six did not respond to treatment. Self-hypnosis was not used. Several illustrative cases are presented.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1442635?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_Discovery_RA&linkpos=1&log$=relatedreviews&logdbfrom=pubmed

Spanos NP, Stenstrom RJ, Johnston JC.

Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.

Two experiments assessed the effects of psychological variables on wart regression. In Experiment 1, subjects given hypnotic suggestion exhibited more wart regression than those given either a placebo treatment or no treatment. In Experiment 2, hypnotic and nonhypnotic subjects given the same suggestions were equally likely to exhibit wart regression and more likely to show this effect than no treatment controls. In both experiments, treated subjects who lost warts reported more vivid suggested imagery than treated subjects who did not lose warts. However, hypnotizability and attribute measures of imagery propensity were unrelated to wart loss. Subjects given the suggestion that they would lose warts on only one side of the body did not show evidence of a side-specific treatment effect.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3387508?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_Discovery_RA&linkpos=1&log$=relatedarticles&logdbfrom=pubmed

"Now on the face of it this sounds very silly, but if it's true, it would have far-reaching implications for modern science. A wart is essentially a tumor (a benign cancer) produced by the papilloma virus. If that can be eliminated by hypnotic suggestion, why not cancer of the cervix, which is also produced by the papilloma virus (albeit a different strain)?"

V.S. Ramachandran
Phantoms In The Brain
p. 218
 

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  • #2
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I know two people who apparently had success curing a plantar wart with what could be considered a form of hypnosis. One of them played the game "Space Invaders" daily for a month, picturing in his mind that each shot was destroying the wart. The other shined a flashlight on his foot each evening, picturing the light shrinking the wart. This was 20 years ago and neither had a recurrence.

Of course, maybe both got lucky and would have had a remission anyway, but given that the warts had existed for a long time before they tried their experiments, the timing of the cure seems somewhat persuasive.
 
  • #3
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The power of suggestion,

on the other end of the spectrum

Take Sam Shoeman, who was diagnosed with end-stage liver cancer in the 1970s and given just months to live. Shoeman duly died in the allotted time frame - yet the autopsy revealed that his doctors had got it wrong. The tumour was tiny and had not spread. "He didn't die from cancer, but from believing he was dying of cancer," says Meador. "If everyone treats you as if you are dying, you buy into it. Everything in your whole being becomes about dying."
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20227081.100-the-science-of-voodoo-when-mind-attacks-body.html?page=1
 
  • #4
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I know two people who apparently had success curing a plantar wart with what could be considered a form of hypnosis. One of them played the game "Space Invaders" daily for a month, picturing in his mind that each shot was destroying the wart. The other shined a flashlight on his foot each evening, picturing the light shrinking the wart. This was 20 years ago and neither had a recurrence.

Of course, maybe both got lucky and would have had a remission anyway, but given that the warts had existed for a long time before they tried their experiments, the timing of the cure seems somewhat persuasive.
Ramachandran's suggested mechanism was that the autonomic system might somehow be activated to selectively starve the wart area of nutrients. By this mechanism individual warts might be starved to death but the virus would remain in the person, dormant.

I wonder if there is a way to detect the virus when it is dormant and, if so, would any people who'd experienced the disappearance of warts would still test positive for the virus.
 
  • #5
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I stepped on a needle when I was about 12 or 13. Soon after that I had a plantar wart. I remember it opened up and there were stringy things in there that hurt to try to pull out. One day it was just gone and there was a pit in it's place. That was 20 years ago. I don't even remember what foot it was on now and haven't had a recurrence. I always thought it was more of a parasite than a tumor. Never really thought about it, but I was playing quite a bit of Space Invaders at the time.
 
  • #6
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I stepped on a needle when I was about 12 or 13. Soon after that I had a plantar wart. I remember it opened up and there were stringy things in there that hurt to try to pull out. One day it was just gone and there was a pit in it's place. That was 20 years ago. I don't even remember what foot it was on now and haven't had a recurrence. I always thought it was more of a parasite than a tumor. Never really thought about it, but I was playing quite a bit of Space Invaders at the time.
You have to wonder to what extent they just go into remission on their own sometimes.
 
  • #7
Borek
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Ramachandran's suggested mechanism was that the autonomic system might somehow be activated to selectively starve the wart area of nutrients. By this mechanism individual warts might be starved to death but the virus would remain in the person, dormant.
I wonder if starving everyone with warts to death will not clear the population from papilloma virus. That'll be a huge relief for all those afraid of warts.

We may use hypnosis to suggest these people they are not hungry.
 
  • #8
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I wonder if starving everyone with warts to death will not clear the population from papilloma virus. That'll be a huge relief for all those afraid of warts.
No. You'd have to kill all the toads.
 
  • #9
Borek
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Good point.
 

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