Latest Research demonstrates again the amazing power of Hypnosis

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Hypnosis Works! The Best Scientific Evidence for Hypnosis

Yes, Hypnosis Works! The Best Scientific Evidence for Hypnosis

Hypnosis has been around for as long as humans have been around, but under many different names. That's because hypnosis is a natural state of the human mind, one that can be triggered by a variety of experiences. Around the turn of the 20th century modern medicine was being developed. The study of the mind occurred right along side that development, and great leaps have been made in the areas of psychology and hypnosis.

If you know me then you know I'm a bit of a scientific study nerd. I love looking at the data and seeing what works and what doesn't work. While not everything is conducive to being studied in a research lab (especially subjective experiences), there are many studies and published articles showing the efficacy of hypnosis. Here are just a few of my favorite quotes and links to the studies themselves.

Evidence for Hypnosis and Pain Control

Before the advent of modern analgesics and anesthetics, hypnosis was often the most effective approach for eliminating pain and increasing survival in major surgical operations. James Esdaile, a Scottish surgeon in the early 1800’s performed hundreds of surgeries and amputations using hypnosis as the pain reliever. James Braid was another surgeon famous for his speedy amputations. His use of hypnosis significantly reduced shock and dramatically increased his patients survival rates.

Even today hypnosis is still used in surgical situations. Below is a link to a video of a dental surgery being performed without any chemical analgesics.

One of the best endorsements of hypnosis is the summary of a paper by Mark P. Jensen and David R. Patterson of the University of Washington on the topic of using hypnosis for chronic pain. In fact, if you are really interested in how hypnosis can affect pain and you want even more research than my article will provide, I recommend reading all of the paper I'm about to quote. It shines it's light on every area of pain and how hypnosis can positively impact it.

"The empirical support for hypnosis for chronic pain management has flourished over the past two decades. Clinical trials show thathypnosis is effective for reducing chronic pain, although outcomes vary between individuals. The findings from these clinical trials also show that hypnotic treatments have a number of positive effects beyond pain control. Neurophysiological studies reveal that hypnotic analgesia has clear effects on brain and spinal-cord functioning that differ as a function of the specific hypnotic suggestions made, providing further evidence for the specific effects of hypnosis. The research results have important implications for how clinicians can help their clients experience maximum benefits from hypnosis and treatments that include hypnotic components" [7]

Beyond chronic pain, hypnosis is widely used in the area of natural childbirth. One study showed,

“Prenatal hypnosis preparation resulted in significantly less use of sedatives, analgesia, and regional anesthesia during labor and in higher 1-minute neonatal Apgar scores.” [1]

Hypnosis has been actively shown to reduce the pain associated with fibromyalgia.

“The patients experienced less pain during hypnosis than at rest.” [5]

It’s really important to realize that pain is a multifaceted experience. This next study shows that different suggestions work on different parts of that experience.

“Consistent with the Malone study, we found that different hypnotic suggestions differentially affect the two dimensions of pain. Specifically we found that hypnotic induction plus analgesia suggestion reduced the intensity dimension of pain significantly more than it reduced the unpleasantness dimension. Conversely, hypnotic induction plus relaxation suggestion reduced the unpleasantness dimension of pain significantly more than it reduced the intensity dimension. This demonstration of different pain interventions affecting different dimensions of pain is consistent with a growing body of literature in which pain is studied as a multidimensional experience.” [6]

Beyond pain there are other unpleasant sensations the body can endure. Often times during chemotherapy and cancer treatment, some of the other drugs given can cause severe nausea and vomiting. Hypnosis has been shown to actively reduce that.

“One of the first modern applications of hypnosis with cancer patients…[multiple] studies reported positive results includingstatistically significant reductions in nausea and vomiting.” [3]

Hypnosis and Post Surgery Healing

And the use of hypnosis to speed up the recovery time after surgery has been shown time and again. Two studies from Harvard Medical School show hypnosis significantly reduces the time it takes to heal.

The first study showed that six weeks after an ankle fracture, those in the hypnosis group showed the equivalent of eight and a half weeks of healing. That effectively demonstrates that using hypnosis helped that group heal bone fractures 41% faster. [2]

The second study focused on people having breast reduction surgery. The group treated with hypnosis healed "significantly faster" than supportive attention group and control group. [2]

Hypnosis often works on multiple fronts. In this next study patients that went through surgery saw a decrease in pain as well as better outcomes overall.

“Hypnosis has been demonstrated to effectively control pain and emotional distress and to improve recovery…results revealed a significant, large effect size…indicating that surgical patients in hypnosis treatment groups had better outcomes than 89% of patients in control groups.” [3]

Hypnosis reduces pain and speeds up recovery from surgery:

“Since 1992, we have used hypnosis routinely in more than 1400 patients undergoing surgery. We found that hypnosis used with patients as an adjunct to conscious sedation and local anesthesia was associated with improved intraoperative patient comfort, and with reduced anxiety, pain, intraoperative requirements for anxiolytic and analgesic drugs, optimal surgical conditions and a faster recovery of the patient. We reported our clinical experience and our fundamental research.” [4]

Hypnosis and Addiction

One of the area's hypnosis has been repeatedly tested and shown to have beneficial effects is the area of addictions. Hypnotherapy is routinely used in the top addiction and recovery centers to help people develop motivational strategies and counteract learned helplessness. Although hypnosis is used in all areas of addictions, there are many studies showing the effects of hypnosis when treating tobacco cessation.

"Of 43 consecutive patients undergoing this treatment protocol, 39 reported remaining abstinent from tobacco use at follow-up (6 months to 3 years post-treatment)."[8]