Add as bookmark

It Isn't Funny

by Vera Peiffer(more info)

listed in kinesiology, originally published in issue 83 - December 2002

There is still the odd comedy programme on television that features a sketch with a woman in it who suddenly has her wig whipped off, revealing a bald head. This is the punch line. This is the joke, and it is really funny. Or is it?

Actually, no, it isn't. Imagine waking up one morning and finding a lot of hair on your pillow. As you look at your reflection in the mirror, you notice that your hair looks considerably thinner. Or you notice a small bald patch on your head. You think you have knocked yourself and it will go away, but it doesn't. It gets bigger. Every time you wash your hair, you see masses of hairs drifting off down the plughole. You hardly dare touch your hair because whatever you touch comes off in your hand. One of my clients woke up one morning to find that her entire head of hair had fallen out in the night. She went hysterical and screamed for hours.

A similar thing happened to me when I was 14. I discovered a small bald patch on my head, which slowly became bigger. The doctors seemed helpless and prescribed steroid injections, which only made the condition worse very rapidly. I put on a lot of weight and quickly developed more bald patches all over my head, which I could no longer cover with my remaining hair. I was devastated when I realized that I had to start wearing a wig to cover my baldness. I could not believe what was happening to me, and nothing seemed to stop the hair from falling out. Within another two months, I had lost all the hair on my head. Within another six months, the hair on my entire body had fallen out. At school, other kids started to shun me or make hurtful remarks. My parents did not know what to say and the doctors didn't know what to do. They admitted openly that they didn't understand what was causing it, only that it was an auto-immune disease.

To this day, I don't know how I got through the first few years of losing all my hair. I tried other medical treatments, none of which worked, but all of which had major negative side effects. I learnt to cope with my condition, but was always hoping that I could find a natural method that would work as I was no longer willing to accept all the side effects that accompanied conventional treatments.

While I was training to become a health kinesiologist, a colleague worked on me to see if my hair growth could be restored. Using my arm muscle as biofeedback, she found out what it was that my body needed to rebalance itself and to become healthy again. Holding acupuncture points, applying magnets to various parts of the body and a number of other interventions were aimed at sorting out those health issues that had made my hair fall out in the first place. After 16 sessions, I noticed that something was happening on my head. I looked at my scalp and found that tiny hairs had started to grow. It was the happiest day of my life and I must have spent hours in front of the mirror for the first few weeks of regrowth.

My hair is still not fully developed and will take several more years to grow properly, but I don't mind. I've waited for 30 years ā€“ a few more years won't make a difference.

Since my own hair started growing back, I have spent endless hours researching alopecia and have been able to help numerous clients regrow their hair. The stories I hear from them are always the same, whether they are men or women ā€“ they are devastated and their confidence is destroyed. The doctors they go to see often tell them that there is no hope and that they need to learn to live with it. After all, it is no life-threatening diseaseā€¦

Some alopecia sufferers, especially women, stop going out altogether. They are painfully self-conscious and ashamed and in constant fear that someone might discover their secret. The worst thing that can happen to an alopecia sufferer is the fear that a strong wind might lift off the wig or that someone publicly points out that they are wearing a wig. So if you see someone and spot that they are wearing one, be they a man or a woman, please show some respect. It takes a lot of courage for that person to face the world every day when they feel like damaged goods. It is unkind and inappropriate for you to try to show how clever you are by pointing out that you have discovered they are wearing a hairpiece.

Not everyone who develops a bald patch will end up with no hair. In quite a number of cases, the hair will grow back naturally after a few months. Not everyone who suffers from alopecia is devastated and loses their confidence. But you don't know that when you meet them. They may seem confident on the outside, but that doesn't mean that you can just address the topic, especially not in front of others. Allow an alopecia sufferer to tell you about it if and when they are ready. Or, if you feel you know about a solution to their problem, at least take them to one side, out of earshot of others, before you tell them.

Alopecia sufferers need solutions, not gossip, sensationalism or having jokes made about them.


  1. No Article Comments available

Post Your Comments:

About Vera Peiffer

Vera Peiffer, BA (Psych), FAACT, MABCH, MHS (Acc), Ptcouns, has been in private practice as an analytical hypnotherapist and health kinesiologist for fifteen years. She is an international speaker and the author of a number of self-help books on positive thinking, fears, stress control and hypnotherapy. Vera can be contacted on tel: 020-7467 8497.

top of the page