Hello everyone! As summer approaches, I’m going to take this opportunity to share some recent scientific research on hypnosis. We know that hypnosis has been scientifically proven to help treat a variety of issues. Scientists today are carrying out studies to determine exactly how and to what extent hypnosis can help patients. I’ve looked over some of the scientific literature on clinical hypnosis, and would like to share a few examples of the exciting research that has been published in the past year.

A pilot investigation of guided self-hypnosis in the treatment of hot flashes among postmenopausal women

This article was published earlier this year by the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. Previous research had shown that hypnosis could reduce hot flashes, and this study looks specifically at whether self-hypnosis techniques would also work. Thirteen postmenopausal woman received 5 sessions of guided self-hypnosis. According to the results, self-hypnosis techniques reduced the frequency of hot flashes by 72%, and the severity of hot flashes by 76%. This study shows that women for whom hot flashes are a significant problem can learn self-hypnosis techniques to experience fewer, and less intense, hot flashes.

Hypnotherapy intervention for loin pain hematuria: a case study

This 2012 case study was also published by the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. It is about a 17-year-old girl with loin pain hematuria, a kidney condition that results in pain and tenderness in the loins, bloody urine, and painful urination. Understandably, the condition interferes with a person’s quality of life and often causes anxiety and depression. The girl, suffering from “uncontrolled, excruciating, constant pain in her right flank,” had tried traditional medical treatments without success. The pain was so severe that she had gone to the emergency room nine times in two months, and became bedridden while taking morphine. The girl received 8 sessions of hypnotherapy, and the results of her 12 month follow-up were as follows: Her general health had improved 98.3%, her anxiety and depression symptoms were reduced 100%, and her pain had almost entirely abated. She was able to return to school, and reported that the condition no longer interfered with her academic and social activities. Hypnosis has often been used in conjunction with medical treatment for chronic pain management, and this is just one of many success stories.

Talking to the senses: modulation of tactile extinction through hypnotic suggestion

This July 2012 article published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience describes how a patient with brain damage showed an improvement in sensory awareness—after a single 20-minute hypnosis session! The 58-year-old woman had suffered a stroke which impaired her sensory functions, specifically, her ability to sense things with the left side of her body. The study focused on the patient’s ability to sense touch with her left hand, and found that after hypnosis her sense of touch greatly improved. Also, the fact that hypnosis is in itself a relaxing experience seemed beneficial: The patient’s daughter was surprised that during the session the spasms in her mother’s left hand were very much reduced. This is the first evidence that hypnosis can temporarily improve a neuropsychological condition, and hints at the possibility of using hypnosis to rehabilitate brain-damaged patients.

Hypnosis for Cancer Care: Over 200 Years Young

This 2013 report, published in the medical journal CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, is a comprehensive overview of hypnosis and its use in cancer care. Hypnosis has been used in conjunction with medical approaches for cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship. Hypnosis can be used for cancer prevention by helping motivate people to quit smoking, manage their weight, and develop healthier living habits overall. Hypnosis is also a valuable tool during cancer diagnosis: hypnosis used before breast biopsies, lumbar punctures, bone marrow aspirations, and colonoscopies has been proven in numerous studies to reduce anxiety and pain more effectively than standard care. Also, a 2010 paper reported that if hypnosis was used for all patients undergoing breast biopsies in the United States for 1 year, over $138 million would be saved—and this is a conservative estimate. During cancer treatment, hypnosis can improve the patient’s experience of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy by reducing averse side effects (pain, nausea, fatigue, anxiety, and depression). Finally, many cancer survivors experience an impaired quality of life post-treatment, and hypnosis has been shown to help with common problems such as chronic pain, fatigue, fear of cancer recurrence, hot flashes, and sexual dysfunction. Overall, this report demonstrates a multitude of significant benefits offered by hypnosis for many aspects of cancer prevention and control.

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