What Causes Facial Blushing?
Blushing is the result of the capillaries beneath the skin widening. More blood accumulates in this area causing the skin to go red. Chemically speaking, the widening of the capillaries is caused by a release of adrenalin.
Blushing is a non verbal display of emotions, triggered by a sense of some kind of threat whilst chronic blushing, or erythrophobia, is thought to be caused by an overactive sympathetic nervous system.
Generally blushing is associated with a feeling of inferiority. It is important to note that the conscious part of the mind may know that this feeling is totally illogical and yet the unconscious part may still feel a sense of being inferior.
From this, it is highly probable that blushing occurs as some evolutionary mechanism whereby in a social interaction, one shows submission to the other more dominant party. Looking at the animal kingdom, there is certainly precedence for this kind of signaling mechanism. Especially where in a tribe situation, there would be one dominant male, the alpha male. Showing submission in a possibly threatening stuation may well result in survival for the non alpha male.
The problem is that this mechanism is no longer relevant to our modern society.
Treatment with Hypnotherapy
I have treated blushing effectively with a ruler method which I found on the Hypnotic World Scripts Service. Under hypnosis, the person sees a ruler standing in the ground with a pointer which indicates the current level of discomfort. Using self-hypnosis, the person learns to lower the level as low as possible as they remain calm and relaxed. The embedded suggestion is that should they begin to redden from embarrassment, all they have to do is mentally lower the pointer, down and down. Their face will then quickly cool down and return to its normal colour.
Hypnotherapy always helps to strengthen the ego and reduce underlying stress and anxiety. Like many behaviours that hypnosis treats, it reconditions the unwanted blushing response to the trigger, whether known consciously or not.
There is also a download hypnosis MP3 to treat blushing available.
While researching treatment for blushing I also found something on surgery. Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS) is the procedure that is most commonly associated with facial blushing. It involves part of the sympathetic nerve being burned, severed, removed or clamped. The surgery is predominately used to treat hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating, especially of the palms), but it is also used to treat facial blushing.
SSRI drugs (Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) or Beta-blockers are also prescribed, sometimes with side effects such as weight gain. The only side-effect with hypnotherapy is a relaxing, enjoyable experience.
Antonia Harrison is an English Hypnotherapist in Belgium