Power of suggestion: Kao study shows positive effects of autogenic therapy on skin

By Amanda Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

Researchers at Kao Corporation have proposed a new holistic skin care routine after studies suggested autogenic training could affect skin condition. ©GettyImages
Researchers at Kao Corporation have proposed a new holistic skin care routine after studies suggested autogenic training could affect skin condition. ©GettyImages
Researchers at Kao Corporation have proposed a new holistic skin care routine after studies suggested autogenic training could affect skin condition.

Kao began the research in 2015, in collaboration with Professor Yosuke Sakairi, deputy president of the Japanese Society of Autogenic Therapy and Japanese Association of Mindfulness.

Effect of autogenic training on skin

Autogenic training is a method of mental and physiological training based on the principles of self-hypnosis.

By reciting phrases and becoming passively aware of sensory changes, autogenic training is said to have both psychological and physiological benefits.

A study on the effects of autogenic training on the skin was conducted on 14 post-menopausal female subjects in their forties and fifties.

They took part in two autogenic training sessions twice a day for eight weeks.

The subjects visited the research laboratory twice to undergo skin measurements: once before the start of the eight-week trial and once at the end.

Both groups were supplied with the same skin care to use for the duration of the study.

The results showed that in comparison with the control group, the test group experienced a “significant”​ increase in moisture in the stratum corneum of their cheeks as well as increased skin

New holistic skin care routine

These results of the studies prompted researchers to introduce autogenic training in combination with daily skin care routines.

Researchers then developed a new approach to skin care which required subjects to passively focus on the changing conditions of the skin and body while undergoing their usual skin care routine.

After, the subjects were asked to record the things she has noticed about her skin and body.

“This self-monitoring approach promotes the learning of ‘passive attention and concentration’ the two principle concepts of autogenic training,”​ Kao explained.

The study was conducted with 13 female subjects in their forties and fifties with dry or sensitive skin. Additionally, another 16 female subjects acted as a control group.

The test group was asked to perform the new routine every evening for eight weeks.

At the end of the experiment, the experimental group reported significant improvements in skin condition in addition to physical well-being.

On the other hand, the skin texture of the control group was observed to worsen during the experiment.

An evolution of photographs also showed that the subjects’ faces were more “fresh and vivid” compared to the control group.

“The research results demonstrate that the new skincare routine, which comprises elements of autogenic training, may promote the improvements of the functions of the body and skin by improving autonomic nerve function,”​ said Kao.

According to Kao, the experimental group reacted positively to the new skin care method.

“Several commented, at the end of the eight-week trial, that the time they spent on skincare had become a valuable part of their daily lives and made them more mindful of their day-to-day physical and mental conditions.”

The company concluded that it believed in the positive effects of autogenic training.

“[Autogenic training] is likely to heighten both the effectiveness and pleasure to be gained from using skin care products. Kao will continue developing even more effective skin care methods based on these findings and will propose new ideas for holistic skin care that enrich beauty from within.”

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