YOGA AND MEDITATION

Both these self-help therapies have well-documented beneficial effects on mind and body. Yoga uses physical exercise, including postures, relaxation techniques and breathing exercises. Meditation uses a focus such as visualisation, a candle or a mantra to help a person find inner calm. This can allow the body to go into the healing and recharging mode it adopts when we sleep, allowing muscles to relax and body systems to become more efficient.

Do you know of any other treatments for alopecia areata as I suffer from this condition and find it quite depressing and worrying?

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A study published in the August 2006 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology reported good news for people with alopecia areata. Researchers used hypnotherapy to treat twenty-one alopecia patients who had lost at least 30 per cent of their scalp hair and had not been helped by steroids, a conventional approach to this disorder. Most patients were also receiving other medical treatments for the condition during the study. Every three weeks, the patients had a hypnosis session, during which the therapist made a number of suggestions, including imagining the healing effects of the sun on their scalps. After three or four sessions, hair growth on at least 75 per cent of the scalp occurred among twelve of the twenty-one patients, with nine experiencing total hair re-growth. During the follow-up period, five of the patients had relapses. The researchers are not sure if hypnosis was responsible for the improvements they saw or how hypnosis might stimulate hair growth. However, they speculated it might lead to changes in the immune system. As well as regular head massage with oils and management of your stress levels, you could also try some visualisation exercises. It is advisable to see a qualified nutritionist as your diet may need improvement or supplementation.

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