Those suffering from chronic pain due to conditions like arthritis, cancer, fibromyalgia, peripheral neuropathy and other uncomfortable health conditions might be dubious that hypnotism — often linked to seemingly silly nightclub acts or parlor tricks — can give significant pain relief. But multiple studies show that when done in a clinical or medical setting, hypnotherapy is an effective way to manage both acute and chronic pain.
The Definition Of Hypnotherapy And Its Effectiveness
According to the American Psychological Association (APA, which endorses hypnotism for pain management), hypnosis is “a set of techniques designed to enhance concentration, minimize one's usual distractions, and heighten responsiveness to suggestions to alter one's thoughts, feelings, behavior, or physiological state.”
Used to facilitate other types of treatment, hypnotherapy cannot cure chronic conditions. However, it can greatly reduce the intensity of pain patients feel by tuning out certain thoughts that magnify discomfort, allowing the subconscious mind to take over and bringing a patient’s mind and body into a more connected state so he or she can begin to feel a sense of control over their health condition and the pain it creates.
Studies Show Hypnosis Brings Pain Relief To 75% Of Patients
Many people are skeptical of hypnosis, but 18 published studies by psychologists Guy Montgomery, PhD, Katherine DuHamel, PhD, and William Redd, PhD, showed that 75% of clinical and experimental participants with different types of pain experienced substantial pain relief from various hypnotic techniques. Only a small minority of people are resistant to hypnotic interventions, says the APA, and studies done by David Patterson, PhD, and psychologist Mark Jensen, PhD, “indicate that hypnotic strategies are equivalent or more effective than other treatments for both acute and chronic pain, and they are likely to save both money and time for patients and clinicians.”
More Proof That Hypnosis For Pain Relief Works
If you’re still dubious that hypnosis is an effective way to manage pain, consider these facts:
- A 1996 panel of the National Institutes of Health found hypnosis is able to significantly ease cancer pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and anxiety.
- Several studies published in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis have shown that being put into a hypnotic state can help patients with conditions like anxiety, back aches, burns, chemotherapy, nerve issues related to diabetes, fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, Raynaud’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
- A 2003 study by Drs. Patterson and Jensen showed that hypnosis is able to decrease sensitivity to pain (known as hypno-analgesia), which significantly reduces a patient’s need for analgesics and sedation, the occurrence of nausea and vomiting, and the length of hospital stays.
How To Find A Reputable Hypnotherapist
If you’d like to try hypnotism to help relieve and control your chronic pain, you can either speak with your doctor about the different hypnotherapies available to you, or you can contact the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis for help in finding a qualified, licensed hypnotist.