Saturday, March 28, 2009

hard not to love

Could hypnosis be a cure for hair loss?

The placebo study for a hair growth drug called Propecia is interesting, because it shows that the brain
The people who took the drug had a success rate of 60% growing hair of at least 100 hairs per square inch.
Those who took the PLACEBO also had excellent results.
40% of the participants who took only a sugar pill grew new hair- of at least 100 hairs per square inch.

This means, that based on belief alone, you can stimulate the follicles to regrow hair.

Hypnosis has no side effects and work well with other programs for hair rejuvenation.
You will learn the methods of going into deep trance, create a new cellular memory in your follicles, stimulate the energetic message in the cells and re-train the follicles to grow hair.
Your subconscious mind will find the "blueprint" for the cellular chemistry when the cells knew how to grow hair, and recreate that cellular chemistry.

(The idea is, you can buy a couple of CDs for $49.)

If I understand the line of reasoning correctly, it would be truer to say that you have a 40% chance of growing new hair of at least 100 hairs per square inch, if by "you" we mean members of a population comparable to that who took part in the experiment. If by "you" we mean members of a population particularly susceptible to the placebo effect you might have a better chance - probably depends on how far the placebo effect these days is triggered by pills and men in white coats. (If your subconscious mind is convinced that hypnosis is total bollocks, on the other hand...) The casual reader might think that those susceptible to the placebo effect would be much more likely to believe that hypnosis would work, but it occurs to me that such people might in fact be exceptionally likely to respond to the trappings of science - the question would then be whether bringing in scientific-sounding terms like "placebo effect", "cellular memory" and "cellular chemistry" would do the business.

The thing that's rather endearing, anyway, is that this is a plug for a product which is, by the seller's own admission, dramatically outperformed by the pill. Awwwwww. (The whole thing here.)

(OK, you may have thought of an objection. Maybe giving someone a pill is simply an ineffectual way of calling the subconscious mind into play; a properly focused technique for making use of the subconscious mind could achieve dramatically better results. OK, could be. I do observe, though, that this is not the line of argument proposed.) [And yes, I'm being lazy, I have not gone into Edit HTML to revert to our in-house font.]

[I was doing research, you understand. I'm writing a book about a hypnotist. HYPNO. Inspired by a case that took place in the early 50s. A man called A A Mason had had considerable success using hypnosis to treat warts. Was walking through a hospital one day when he saw a young man whose arms were covered with, as he thought, warts. Asked the surgeon if he could try hypnosis. The surgeon had been thinking of trying skin grafts; said Go ahead. Mason used hypnosis, focusing in the first instance, I think, on one arm: The skin is becoming very smooth and pliant, the hard skin is falling off, etc.... Came back a week later and a startling improvement had taken place, the skin on the arm was close to normal. The surgeon was, well, thrilled but stunned and not a little exasperated, because, um, these were not actually warts. The patient had a congenital condition, lamellar ichthyosis, which was incurable. Supposedly. Except that, um.... Mason continued to work with the patient over six weeks or so, and the patient achieved a 70% improvement overall. He wrote it up for the BMJ, who published a piece in 1952, and there was a heated correspondence in later issues of the BMJ. Mason then, naturally, attempted to replicate the results, but was unable to do so, inhibited (he thought) by the knowledge that the condition was congenital. Much later he became a psychiatrist and published a "recantation" in which he described this early success as a folie a deux. I have no idea what he thought he meant by this, since the one thing that was incontrovertible was that the boy's condition improved dramatically and that the improvement was still in place a year later, but the cafe in which I am writing wants to kick me out so speculation is idle]

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