Published in the print version as “Hypnosis: It’s Not Hooey!” By Marc I. Oster, PsyD
Hypnosis is a powerful intervention tool that can be used to achieve wellness.
Hypnosis-enhanced therapy is a legitimate treatment for various medical problems—and unlike many treatments it is non-invasive and totally safe. Here are just 6 medical problems hypnosis helps…
IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME
IBS is a mysterious, often debilitating condition that causes cramps and intermittent episodes of diarrhea, pain, and constipation. Medications to treat it aren’t very effective. Several well-designed studies of hypnotherapy for IBS have shown that IBS patients who were treated with hypnosis had “substantial, long-term improvement” of gastrointestinal symptoms, along with less anxiety and depression. It’s possible that hypnosis alters how the central nervous system responds to intestinal signals. It also diverts people’s attention from their intestinal sensations and causes them to perceive less discomfort.
Hypnosis doesn’t necessarily reduce pain, but it does alter how people react to it. Studies have shown that hypnotized dental patients have a higher pain threshold. They also have less anxiety, which reduces sensitivity to pain. One study, which looked at patients with burn injuries, used virtual-reality technology to induce hypnosis. Patients wore a fiber optic helmet that immersed them in a make-believe environment. As they descended into a snowy, three-dimensional canyon, an audiotape with a clinician’s voice prepared them for what they would experience during the treatment of the burn. Result: They had a decrease in both pain and anxiety–and their need for potent painkillers was reduced by half.
HELP WITH QUITTING SMOKING
Hypnosis still is more effective than standard treatments. About 65% to 70% of smokers who are treated with medical hypnosis quit successfully. That’s much better than the quit rate from going cold turkey (about 20%) or using stop-smoking drugs including nicotine therapy (35% to 40%). We at the Motivational Institute of Hypnosis have a 98% success rate after just one session. Hypnosis isn’t a miracle cure for smoking or other addictions, yet anyone who takes the time to schedule an appointment with a hypnotherapist is already highly motivated. The success rate would be lower for those who remain on the fence about quitting.
BETTER CANCER CARE
The radiation therapy that’s used to treat some cancers often causes fatigue as a side effect. Researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City found that cancer patients who underwent hypnosis during a common kind of counseling called cognitive-behavioral therapy experienced less fatigue than participants in a control group. The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, showed that after six months the average patient treated with hypnosis had less fatigue than 95% of those who weren’t hypnotized.
A six-month study at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston showed that 73% of participants who had chronic fatigue syndrome reported increased energy, more restful periods of sleep, and better concentration at work. This is far better than the national average of 23% of people who improve with other types of therapy.
LESS SURGICAL PAIN
Another study of cancer patients found that those who had a single, 15-minute hypnosis session prior to their surgery required less sedation and experienced less nausea, pain, and fatigue than those in a non-hypnosis group. Mount Sinai researchers analyzed 20 studies on hypnosis and surgery and found that in 89% of cases hypnotized surgical patients had less pain, used less pain medication, and recovered faster.
Research has shown that people who are mentally and physically relaxed are more receptive to taking in new ideas and feeling in new ways.
Expand your mind’s power through hypnosis…it works!
To Your Success,
Marla Brucker, DCH, R.HA