ResearchThe positive impacts of hypnosis on a variety of medical issues has been proven in clinical research for many years. Here is a small sample of the recent studies that have shown the power of hypnosis to heal and improve lives.
For Treating Acute and Chronic Pain
Study: Use of Hypnosis in the Treatment of Pain
Authors: Jin-Seong Lee, MD corresponding author and Young Don Pyun, MD
Hypnosis not only has analgesic effects in acute pain, but it also serves to relieve chronic pain such as fibromyalgia, cancer pains, and headaches.
Study: Hypnosis for Treatment of Pain in Children
Authors: Alex L. Rogovik, MD PhD and Ran D. Goldman, MD
Children can be easier to hypnotize than adults. Studies have shown clinical hypnosis and self-hypnosis to be effective as adjunct treatments for children in pain. Examples include painful medical procedures, such as bone marrow aspiration and lumbar puncture in pediatric cancer patients, postoperative pain and anxiety in children undergoing surgery, and chronic headache.
Study: Chronic Low-back Pain Modulation is Enhanced by Hypnotic Analgesic Suggestion by Recruiting an Emotional Network
Authors: Nusbaum F, Redouté J, Le Bars D, Volckmann P, Simon F, Hannoun S, Ribes G, Gaucher J, Laurent B, Sappey-Marinier D.
This study aimed to characterize the neural networks involved in patients with chronic low-back pain during hypnoanalgesia. PET was performed in 2 states of consciousness, normal alertness and hypnosis. Two groups of patients received direct or indirect analgesic suggestion. The normal alertness state showed activations in a cognitive-sensory pain modulation network, including frontotemporal cortex, insula, somatosensory cortex, and cerebellum. The hypnotic state activated an emotional pain modulation network, including frontotemporal cortex, insula, caudate, accumbens, lenticular nuclei, and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). Direct suggestion activated cognitive processes via frontal, prefrontal, and orbitofrontal cortices, while indirect suggestion activated a widespread and more emotional network including frontal cortex, anterior insula, inferior parietal lobule, lenticular nucleus, and ACC. Confirmed by visual analog scale data, these results suggest that chronic pain modulation is greater with hypnosis, which enhances both activated networks.
Study: Effects of Self-Hypnosis Training and Emg Biofeedback Relaxation Training on Chronic Pain in Persons with Spinal-Cord Injury
Authors: Jensen MP, Barber J, Romano JM, Hanley MA, Raichle KA, Molton IR, Engel JM, Osborne TL, Stoelb BL, Cardenas DD, Patterson DR.
Thirty-seven adults with spinal-cord injury and chronic pain were randomly assigned to receive 10 sessions of self-hypnosis (HYP) or EMG biofeedback relaxation (BIO) training for pain management. Participants in both treatment conditions reported substantial, but similar, decreases in pain intensity from before to after the treatment sessions. However, participants in the HYP condition, but not the BIO condition, reported statistically significant decreases in daily average pain pre- to posttreatment. These pre- to posttreatment decreases in pain reported by the HYP participants were maintained at 3-month follow-up. Participants in the HYP condition, but not the BIO condition, also reported significant pre- to posttreatment increases in perceived control over pain, but this change was not maintained at the 3-month follow-up.
Study: Hypnotherapy for Sleep Disorders
Authors: Ng BY, Lee TS.
Examined the rationale of using hypnotherapy to manage various types of sleep disorders, and to explore the techniques, strategies and hypnotic scripts employed by various hypnotherapists. Acute and chronic insomnia often respond to relaxation and hypnotherapy approaches, along with sleep hygiene instructions. Hypnotherapy has also helped with nightmares and sleep terrors. There are several reports of successful use of hypnotherapy for parasomnias, specifically for head and body rocking, bedwetting and sleepwalking.
HPV (Human Papillomavirus)
Study: Efficacy of Hypnosis in the Treatment of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) in Women
Authors: Barabasz A, Higley L, Christensen C, Barabasz M
This article investigates the effect of hypnosis on immunity and whether this is the key mechanism in the hypnotic treatment of the genital infection caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease and can lead to cervical and other cancers. Current medical treatments are aimed at tissue assault (acids, freezing, surgery). Medical wart clearance rates are only 30% to 70% and recurrence is common. Our research contrasted hypnosis-only with medical-only therapies, using both urban hospital and rural community samples. Both hypnosis and medical therapy resulted in a statistically significant (p < .04) reduction in areas and numbers of lesions. Yet, at the 12-week follow-up, complete clearance rates were 5 to 1 in favor of hypnosis.
Study: Hypnosis for Symptom Management in Women With Breast Cancer: A Pilot Study
Authors: Jensen MP, Gralow JR, Braden A, Gertz KJ, Fann JR, Syrjala KL
Eight women who were in treatment for breast cancer (n = 4) or breast cancer survivors (n = 4), presenting with 1 or more of 4 symptoms (chronic pain, fatigue, hot flashes, and sleep difficulties), were given 4 to 5 sessions of self-hypnosis training for symptom management. Analyses revealed (a) significant pre- to posttreatment decreases in pain intensity, fatigue, and sleep problems and (b) that pain intensity continued to decrease from posttreatment to 6-month follow-up. Although there was a slight increase in fatigue severity and sleep problems from posttreatment to 6-month follow-up, the follow-up scores did not return to pretreatment levels. The findings provide initial support for using hypnosis to manage symptoms in women who are breast cancer survivors.
Study: The Effectiveness of Hypnosis in Reducing Pain and Suffering Among Women with Metastatic Breast Cancer and Among Women with Temporomandibular Disorder
Authors: Nash MR, Tasso A.
The authors describe two studies of special interest to clinicians and clinical researchers. Both are randomized controlled studies, exclusively focused on female patients. The first study tests whether a year-long weekly group intervention including hypnosis can reduce cancer pain among women with metastatic breast cancer. Findings suggest the intervention slowed the increase in reported pain over a 12-month period relative to controls. The second study examines the effect of hypnosis in women suffering from temporomandibular disorder (TMD), with a special focus on function as well as pain. Hypnosis reduced TMD pain as measured by a numerical-rating scale.
IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
Study: Hypnotherapy Effective Way to Improve IBS Symptoms
Author: Charles P. Vega, MD
In a recent study by Mahvi-Shirazi and colleagues, the addition of cognitive behavioral therapy to medical therapy for IBS improved not only patients' mental health but reduced the disability caused by IBS as well. Overall, the study results, which were published in the February 29, 2012, issue of the Archives of Medical Science, demonstrated that the addition of cognitive behavioral therapy reduced IBS symptoms to a greater extent than medications alone, with 80% of patients receiving dual therapy experiencing a resolution of symptoms.
Study: Comparison between Self-Hypnosis, Masking and Attentiveness for Alleviation of Chronic Tinnitus
Authors: Attias J, Shemesh Z, Sohmer H, Gold S, Shoham C, Faraggi D.
The efficacy of self-hypnosis (SH) on tinnitus relief was compared with two control procedures: 1) presentation of a brief auditory stimulus (BAS) to the ear with tinnitus; 2) waiting list (WL), i.e. patients receiving no formal treatment. The results have shown that 73% of SH subjects reported disappearance of tinnitus during treatment sessions, as compared with only 24% in the BAS group. Moreover, the short-term (1 week) and long-term (2 months) symptom profiles of only SH subjects revealed a significant improvement. Thus, SH may well be a beneficial method for the relief of tinnitus.
MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and Chronic Pain
Study: Effects of Self-hypnosis Training and Cognitive Restructuring on Daily Pain Intensity and Catastrophizing in Individuals with Multiple Sclerosis and Chronic Pain.
Authors: Jensen MP, Ehde DM, Gertz KJ, Stoelb BL, Dillworth TM, Hirsh AT, Molton IR, Kraft GH
Fifteen adults with multiple sclerosis were given 16 sessions of treatment for chronic pain that included 4 sessions each of 4 different treatment modules: (a) an education control intervention; (b) self-hypnosis training (HYP); (c) cognitive restructuring (CR); and (d) a combined hypnosis-cognitive restructuring intervention (CR-HYP). The findings supported the greater beneficial effects of HYP, relative to CR, on average pain intensity. The CR-HYP treatment appeared to have beneficial effects greater than the effects of CR and HYP alone.
Study: Treatment of Non-cardiac Chest Pain: A Controlled Trial of Hypnotherapy
Authors: H Jones, P Cooper, V Miller, N Brooks, P J Whorwell
Twenty eight patients fulfilling the entry criteria were randomised to receive, after a four week baseline period, either 12 sessions of hypnotherapy or supportive therapy plus placebo medication over a 17 week period. Twelve of 15 (80%) hypnotherapy patients compared with three of 13 (23%) controls experienced a global improvement in pain (p = 0.008) which was associated with a significantly greater reduction in pain intensity (p = 0.046) although not frequency. Hypnotherapy also resulted in a significantly greater improvement in overall well being in addition to a reduction in medication usage. There were no differences favouring hypnotherapy with respect to anxiety or depression scores.
Study: Hypnosis in the Treatment of Morgellons Disease: A Case Study
Authors: Gartner AM, Dolan SL, Stanford MS, Elkins GR.
Morgellons Disease is a condition involving painful skin lesions, fibrous growths protruding from the skin, and subcutaneous stinging and burning sensations, along with symptoms of anxiety, depression, fatigue, and memory and attention deficits. The etiological and physiological bases of these symptoms are unclear, making the diagnosis controversial and challenging to treat. There are currently no established treatments for Morgellons Disease. The following case example depicts treatment of a woman with Morgellons Disease using hypnotherapy. Data from this case example suggest that hypnotherapy is a promising intervention for the physical and psychological symptoms associated with Morgellons Disease.
Study: Boosting Human Learning by Hypnosis
Authors: Dezso Nemeth, Karolina Janacsek, Bertalan Polner and Zoltan Ambrus Kovacs
Human learning and memory depend on multiple cognitive systems related to dissociable brain structures. These systems interact not only in cooperative but also sometimes competitive ways in optimizing performance. Previous studies showed that manipulations reducing the engagement of frontal lobe-mediated explicit attentional processes could lead to improved performance in striatum-related procedural learning. In our study, hypnosis was used as a tool to reduce the competition between these 2 systems. We compared learning in hypnosis and in the alert state and found that hypnosis boosted striatum-dependent sequence learning. Since frontal lobe-dependent processes are primarily affected by hypnosis, this finding could be attributed to the disruption of the explicit attentional processes. Our result sheds light not only on the competitive nature of brain systems in cognitive processes but also could have important implications for training and rehabilitation programs, especially for developing new methods to improve human learning and memory performance.