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Habit Reversal Tip #9: Discover your skin-safe behaviours
Using an iPad for habit reversal: a skin-safe behaviour
There are two parts to the advice for Level Three of The Combined Approach to atopic eczema: habit reversal. First, the specific instruction of forming light fists and holding the arms still for 30 seconds, followed if necessary by pinching or pressing a nail against any itchy skin. Second, more general strategies for provocative or difficult situations,
- Planning ahead
- Doing things quickly
- Keeping one's hands busy
The planning ahead includes preparing a repertoire of alternative skin-safe behaviours: a personal behavioural prescription. It doesn't matter what one does, as long as it achieves the purpose, which is to leave the skin alone for long enough. Each person will have their own favourite way of keeping their hands busy, bearing in mind the pros and cons of doing something in particular, in a particular situation. So, it's hazardous to text while driving a car: OK if you are a passenger.
One of our first patients would practise on his electric keyboard (with earphones on) when first in bed, before lights out and sleep. Another took to knitting while watching TV.
For many years the usefulness of video games has been recognised for habit reversal, and not only for fostering skin healing. Now devices like the iPhone and the iPad - see the piece posted recently by member MarcieMom - with not only games, but also programs like Brushes (see above, by DrB!), as popularised by artist David Hockney, are clearly worth considering. All the time the fingers are busy being creative the skin can be healing: a win-win situation.
So, please let's have your suggestions for a list of useful skin-safe behaviours...