You heard it here first! Kissing is good for you. Well we all know that, but kissing when you have eczema and allergies could be particularly beneficial!
I love this piece of news, more proof that snogging is seriously underated and I can’t think of a much better treatment for eczema and allergies, can you? [Thank you Kym for this gem of news]
This study, conducted by Japanese doctor Hajime Kimata also won him the Ig Nobel medicine prize for his study on kissing as allergy relief.
Dr Hajime Kimata is a dermatologist specialising in atopic dermatitis, eczema and allergies at his clinic in Neyagawa, Osaka Prefecture in Japan, conducted a study to see if kissing could have any effect on the well being of his atopic patients.
Kimata and some Slovakian researchers shared the prize for “experiments to study the biomedical benefits or biomedical consequences of intense kissing (and other intimate, interpersonal activities.)” [Ed: Seems like kissing isn’t the only thing which helped these patients… ;o)]
Kimata’s experiment involved 90 subjects; 30 patients with eczema, 30 patients with hay fever and 30 healthy people.
They underwent skin and blood tests to gauge changes in the intensity of their allergic reactions before and after kissing their lovers or partners freely for 30 minutes in a private room while soft music was played.
The results showed that their allergic reactions eased somewhat after the make-out session.
Two weeks later, Kimata had the same 90 subjects hold their partners for 30 minutes without smooching in a private room. No change was detected in the condition of the subjects before and after the cuddling session.
You can read more about the benefits of kissing here.
Eczema, depression and intimacy
When you have very bad eczema, the pain and emotional effects of feeling ashamed of your terrible skin can ruin any chances of intimacy. You don’t feel remotely sexy with broken, red, sore, oozing skin despite the fact that most people wouldn’t be bothered about your skin anyway.
Chronic eczema can trigger depression and the true implications of this truly awful condition haven’t really ever been understood or addressed.
It ALWAYS feels 10 times worse than it looks but then you’re in that negative downward spiral and you can’t get out. The constant itching, pain and sleepless nights take their toll.
However, if it were encouraged as part of eczema treatment what leaps and bounds could we be making? Instead emotional well being and relationships aren’t even talked about in this context.
Has any doctor or dermatologist ever asked you, “So how do you feel?” or “Is this effecting your relationship with your husband/wife?” It’s personal stuff isn’t it. We don’t discuss it with our friends half the time so why on earth with our doctor? But it’s a basic need. Most humans need and enjoy intimate contact.
As a nation we are still not really comfortable talking about sex and intimacy but it’s just natural and something most people need; security, love, encouragement and appreciation. They’re all wrapped up together.
So trust me. Your wife, husband, boyfriend or girlfriend are not bothered about your eczema so try to ignore the pain and think of the improvements this very enjoyable pastime could be giving you.
When kissing is bad for allergies
Whilst this is an interesting study smooching with someone who has recently eaten peanuts can cause quite severe reactions in very sensitive people with nut allergies.
This was featured in J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2006 Sep;118(3):719-24. Epub 2006 Jul 24. entitled ‘Peanut allergen exposure through saliva: assessment and interventions to reduce exposure’ by Maloney JM1, Chapman MD, Sicherer SH.
It showed that the saliva of people who had eaten peanuts still contained levels of peanut protein high enough to invoke a serious reaction over an hour after eating. Brushing teeth and chewing gum had no effect on reducing this so people with a peanut allergy should be very careful who they kiss!
Always check if they have eaten nuts recently. Better to be safe than sorry.
Yes of course it works as a magic cure. If this study is ongoing I would love to sign up for it immediately
Hi Andrew. I think they’d be swamped with applicants. Can you get your new bosses to do a UK study? Sign me up too ?
Debbie Clarke says
Great piece, Ruth. Really interesting. I actually thought it was going to link exposure to germs with decreased allergic response. I know that’s one theory – that so many people are allergic now because we didn’t eat enough dirt when young. I wonder if this researcher considered that?
Hi Debs. Thanks for the comment. You mean exchanging bacteria in saliva? Possibly… I don’t think they did though I haven’t managed to get hold of the full study yet. A smile, a laugh, a hug, a kiss, I could go on… are really healing I think. In those moments you are just in the laugh, the kiss, the hug so you stop worrying, feeling pain, stressing out and relax. Stress plays a huge part in all these conditions and while I dispute whole heartedly that any of them are ‘all in the mind’ they are most definitely exacerbated and made worse by an unhealthy, struggling and tired mind.