My Account  |  Contact Us  |  |  +44 1962 890210

Can hypnotherapy reduce eczema scratching in children?

Hypnotherapy aims to modify unconscious thoughts and behaviours. Given that a good portion of eczema scratching can be habitual, hypnotherapy is a logical tool to try in the attempt to break the scratching habit. We look at whether hypnotherapy can reduce eczema related scratching and the practicalities of using it in children.

How does hypnotherapy reduce scratching?

Most eczema flare-ups are triggered by the ‘scratch-itch cycle’. This is when itching leads to scratching, which damages the skin and leads to a worsening of the inflammation and more itching. Over time persistent scratching of eczema results in a thickening of the skin, known as lichenification. These discolured, raised areas can take months to heal, even when scratching is minimised. Itching also has a psychological element, with the physical itch aggravated by thinking about it. For example,  when the conversation turns to head lice, do you find yourself scratching your head at the mere thought of them?

Hypnotherapy aims to break the eczema scratch-itch cycle by replacing scratching with a less damaging physical response to the physical itch. It also tries to damp down the psychological itch sensations. However, for hypnotherapy to be effective, your child needs to be completely on board with the approach.

Evidence for effectiveness

There has been little scientific research into the effectiveness of hypnosis for alleviating eczema symptoms. However, some small studies have found promising results.

One study of 44 children found that hypnotherapy or teaching relaxation techniques resulted in a significant reduction in the severity of surface damage and lichenification compared with a control group that just talked about their condition. This effect was most pronounced in the girls who had had hypnotherapy1. There was no effect on the extent of their eczema.

Another study involved 18 adults and 20 children with treatment-resistant eczema. After hypnotherapy treatment, all but one participant reported immediate improvement in symptoms, including itching, scratching, and trouble sleeping. This was maintained for the duration of the study. A follow-up questionnaire sent to the carers of the children involved in the study was answered for 12 children. This showed that 18 months after treatment 10 had maintained the improvement in itching and scratching, nine in sleep disturbance, and seven maintained improvement in mood 2.

A 2020 clinical trial involved 27 adults with eczema who received an average of six hypnosis sessions. This study found a clear in reduction in measured eczema severity in all bar one of the participants3.

While these trial are all very small and there is not ensure data to be at all conclusive, they do indicate that hypnotherapy may be a useful tool for children who are finding it difficult to minimise their scratching.

What to expect from a hypnotherapy session

In all likelihood, you will have spoken in depth to your child’s therapist or filled out a detailed questionnaire before their first session. This will enable the therapist to be well prepared for talking to your child.

At the session, the therapist will want to speak directly to your child. They will need to understand your child’s condition from their point of view. It is usually a good idea for parents to stay with children during a hypnotherapy session. This will help your child feel comfortable and safe. If your child is likely to be self-conscious talking in front of you, take some headphones and listen to music so you can be present but not actively listening.

Once the therapist has a good understanding of the situation and your child’s goals, they will guide your child into a relaxed, trace-like state. For younger children, this may be as little as asking them to take a few deep breaths and then stepping into their imagination from there. Your therapist may use techniques like play or drawing to help your child get over any shyness and express themself freely. 

When your child is relaxed and comfortable, the therapist will help your child to re-experience past situations in a positive way and provide them with positive suggestions, based on the goals agreed at the start of the session. Your therapist may give your child exercises to do at home between sessions.

Most importantly, your child will be in control at all times.

Young boy concentrating on a Newtons cradle during a hypnotherapy session.
Your hypnotherapist may use techniques like play or drawing. This will help your child get over any shyness and express himself freely. 
Top tip

As a parent who is used to advocating for your child you may find it difficult to sit quietly and let your child take the lead. However, it is really important to let your child speak for themselves.

How to find a hypnotherapist

In the UK, hypnotherapists are not regulated. This means hypnotherapy can be offered by people with little training who are not health professionals. However, there are two accreditation agencies recognised by the NHS:  The Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council and the National Hypnotherapy Society.

In the USA regulation varies by state, with most states having little or no regulation. However American Society of Clinical Hypnosis and American Council of Hypnotist Examiners both require their members to have undertaken suitable training and sign up to their codes of ethics.

What to look for when choosing a hypnotherapist:

  • Choose someone with a healthcare background – such as a doctor, psychologist or nurse.
  • When looking for a therapist for a child, make sure they’re trained to work with children. In the UK may sure that they have a current enhanced DBS check.
  • Check they’re registered with one of the above agencies (or the appropriate agency in your country).
  • If possible, arrange to talk to them before the first session. This will allow you to be sure that you get on well with them.

Since the pandemic, many hypnotherapists have ‘gone online’ and are able to offer remote consultations. If you aren’t able to find a suitable therapist in your area, remorse sessions may be an option.

So can hypnotherapy reduce eczema scratching in children?

Hypnotherapy is typically only available privately and treatment usually occurs over a number of sessions so costs can quickly add up. However, although the evidence supporting the use of hypnotherapy in the treatment of childhood eczema is limited, it is encouraging.

It may be worth trying if:

  • Your child is actively looking for ways to alleviate their eczema symptoms.
  • Unconscious scratching is a big contributor to your child’s eczema flare-ups.
  • Your child is mature enough to make themselves understood and follow instructions.
  • You can find an accessible therapist with experience in treating childhood eczema.



As well as sharing our experience of bringing up an eczema child (and favourite allergy-friendly recipes), we also manufacture and sell our unique stay-on scratch mitts and PJs for itchy babies, toddlers and children. We now stock sizes from 0-adult years in a range of colours and designs. Visit our webshop for more information.

The Calm Skin Guide

Love our blog? It's also available in book format with:

Signed copies available at no extra cost

Written by:

Coming from a family of eczema sufferers, Jae draws on years of practical, first hand experience living with eczema.

Interesting article? Don't keep it to yourself...

Read next...

You may also find helpful...

Conventional Treatments | Sleep & Scratching
As long as there is habitual scratching of eczema patches, skin never gets the chance to heal fully. This means...
Alternative Treatments | Sleep & Scratching
Hypnotherapy aims to modify unconscious thoughts and behaviours. Given that a good portion of eczema scratching can be habitual, hypnotherapy...
Alternative Treatments
Of all the alternative eczema remedies, homoeopathy is one of the most with regard to effectiveness. We look at the...
Alternative Treatments
Essential oils have been used in the treatment of eczema for hundreds of years. However, there is not a great...
Alternative Treatments
Chinese herbal medicine is just ‘medicine’ in large parts of the world. It is commonly used alongside conventional, Western medicine...
Featured Article | Sleep & Scratching
Ask any eczema parent which part of their child’s eczema they find hardest to deal with and the answer will...
Sleep & Scratching
Here at ScratchSleeves we love collaborating to bring you the experience and expertise of professionals and parents. This time we...
Sleep & Scratching
Here at ScratchSleeves, we love collaborating to bring you the experience and expertise of professionals and parents. This time we...
Sleep & Scratching
Here at ScratchSleeves we love collaborating to bring you the experience and expertise of professionals and parents. This time we...
Sleep & Scratching
Here at ScratchSleeves we love collaborating on blog posts to bring you the experience and expertise of professionals and parents....
Sleep & Scratching
Here at ScratchSleeves we love collaborating to bring you the experience and expertise of professionals and parents. This time we...
Seasons & Holidays | Sleep & Scratching
Summer has arrived and we’re not complaining! However, the long hours of sunlight and the hot summer nights can make...
Featured Article | Alternative Treatments
We know from experience that watching your child suffer the constant itch and irritation of baby eczema is frustrating. It...
Sleep & Scratching
Swaddling is a great way to stop babies scratching the eczema on their face. If only you can stop them...
Sleep & Scratching
Toddlers are amazing little people full of a wonderful enthusiasm, energy and innocence. But they lack common sense and live...
Alternative Treatments
Coconut oil has been used for thousands of years and for many different ailments: from mouthwash to moisturiser! Recent research...
Alternative Treatments
Honey is well-known as a treatment for sore throats, wounds and infections, due to compounds it contains that kill bacteria....
Alternative Treatments
Eczema is one of those horrible conditions where there is no single treatment that works for everybody.  Annoying as it...
Alternative Treatments
Unfortunately, eczema is a condition where there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treatment. This makes it particularly frustrating to parents...
Sleep & Scratching
Eczema is often called “the itch that rashes”. The eczema itch is certainly feels more uncomfortable and distressing than the...
Sleep & Scratching
Eczema is really itchy and almost impossible not to scratch. Every parent whose child suffers from eczema knows how distressing...
Family Life | Sleep & Scratching
One of the questions often asked by our customers is “will wearing ScratchSleeves affect my child’s ability to play?”. The...
Sleep & Scratching
Feel like the only person awake at 2 am, 4 am and then again at 5 am with a scratchy,...
Sleep & Scratching | Triggers
As many parents of itchy little ones know, it is common for children who suffer from eczema to also be...
Bathing & Washing | Alternative Treatments
Having realised back that shop bought soap was aggravating the family’s eczema, Grandma ScratchSleeves started making her own soap. Over...
Seasons & Holidays | Alternative Treatments
There is plenty of anecdotal evidence from parents about improvements in atopic eczema after swimming in the sea. This is consistent with...
Alternative Treatments | Sleep & Scratching
We all know the benefits of a good bedtime routine. For a child with eczema a structured approach to getting...
Alternative Treatments
Any parent of a child with eczema knows the horrible, helpless and heart wrenching feeling of watching your little one...
Alternative Treatments
Like many eczema kids, our 5 year old hates having eczema creams applied. We have tried all sorts of things...
Sleep & Scratching
The controversy over the benefits of co-sleeping waxes and wanes over the decades. Some swear by it, some advise against...
Sleep & Scratching
Recent studies have demonstrated the importance of sleep in the development of a child’s brain. But can be really difficult...
Family Life | Sleep & Scratching | Bathing & Washing
Sleep is as essential as nutrition and for keeping children healthy. But getting a child into bed and sleeping at...
Sleep & Scratching
Eczema is really itchy and almost impossible not to scratch. Apart from the immediate damage caused by scratching, the scratching...
Sleep & Scratching
One of the most obvious ways to stop eczema babies scratching is to keep their nails as short as possible –...
Sleep & Scratching
As tempting as it may be to scratch, it will only make eczema worse. It’s difficult as an adult to...
Sleep & Scratching
Babies and children with eczema often find sleeping a problem as their skin can get hotter and itchier at night. During...

Quick buy

What our lovely customers say...

More reviews are available on...

Multi Buy Discount


Spend between £30 - £60 and save 5%
Spend between £60 - £120 and save 10%
Spend over £120 and save 15%

Discount automatically applied at checkout

No Quibbles Guarantee

output-onlinepngtools (48)

ScratchSleeves abide by a no quibbles guarantee.

Free UK Postage

output-onlinepngtools (85)

Free packing and postage on all UK orders. For overseas orders to Europe postage is from £3.50, to USA is £6.50 and to the rest of the world, from £3.75.

Scroll to Top