Dr. David Spiegel MD, a psychiatrist at Stanford University said, “If this were a drug, everyone would be using it.” “Most patients benefit from the use of hypnotic suggestion for pain relief”, says Guy Montgomery, PhD, a behavioral scientist at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. April 2, 2000 issue of the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis
Studies at many outstanding hospitals, clinics and universities who have undertaken programs on the use of hypnosis have found beneficial results for many different medical and physical problems. Listed below are some of the areas being researched, with additional details following the list.
Mayo Clinic review of prior studies of hypnosis in contemporary medicine
Medical hypnosis summary: an underutilized treatment approach
Pain: Cancer, Headaches, Migraine
IBS- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Control of side effects in breast surgery patients
Mind/body suggestions to control blood flow during surgery (Pre-op instruction)
See details below:
Mayo Clinic review of prior studies. Hypnosis in Contemporary Medicine:
A review study of over a hundred clinical studies of hypnosis for medical procedures documents that hypnosis is beneficial for allergy, anesthesia for pain, anesthesia for surgery, warts, dermatitis, irritable bowel syndrome, peptic ulcers, abdominal surgery, healing from injury or surgery, hemophilia, hypertension, headaches, childbirth, asthma, smoking cessation, fibromyalgia, impotence, and urinary incontinence. “Many important trials reviewed here have helped to establish the role of hypnosis in contemporary medicine. These trials have established the utility and efficacy of hypnosis for several medical conditions, either alone or as part of the treatment regimen,” writes Steward, JH, Department of Internal Medicine and Division of Cardiovascular Diseases, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Jacksonville, FL Mayo Clinic Proceedings 2005.
Medical hypnosis summary. Medical Hypnosis: an Underutilized Treatment Approach
Five case histories demonstrate the dramatic and sometimes unexpected beneficial outcomes of medical hypnosis. “Hypnosis is suitable for patients with the following medical conditions: chronic headache, chronic back pain, psychogenic weakness or paralysis, chronic constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, panic attacks and phobias,” writes Alman, B (Kaiser) Permanente journal, Fall 2001/Vol 5
A study was done by the University of Iowa and the University of Aaschen, Germany using an MRI to find out if hypnosis alters brain activity in a way that explains pain reduction. The results were that there was reduced activity in the cortical brain region that deals with the conscious perception of pain. This was reported in the November-December 2004 issue of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine. Analysis of the main effects holding both group and condition constant, revealed the application of hypnotic analgesia reduced the report of pain intensity. Differential effects of hypnotic suggestion on multiple dimensions of pain. Journal of Pain & Symptom Management. 1995 31:686-9
A review panel appointed by the National Institutes of Health found “strong evidence” for the use of hypnosis in alleviating pain associated with cancer. AMA Journal, July 24-31, 1996
Self-hypnosis was largely successful in alleviating chronic tension headaches in 169 patients. International Journal of Experimental Hypnosis, 2000
Hypnosis Reduces Frequency and Intensity of Migraines
There was a comparison between the treatment of migraines using hypnosis and self-hypnosis and the drug prochlorperazine (Stemetil). results showed that the number of people who suffered blinding attacks were significantly lower for the group that received hypnosis. Anderson, JA Basker,MA, Dalton R Migraine and Hypnotherapy, International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis 1975
Hypnosis and Fibromyalgia. Controlled Trial of Hypnotherapy in the Treatment of Refractory Fibromyalgia
“In a controlled study, 40 patients with refractory fibromyalgia were randomly allocated to treatment with either hypnotherapy or physical therapy for 12 weeks with follow-up at 24 weeks. Compared with the patients in the physical therapy group, the patients in the hypnotherapy group showed a significantly better outcome.” Journal of Rheumatology 1991, vol 18
Analysis of the main effects holding both group and condition constant, revealed the application of hypnotic analgesia reduced the report of pain intensity. Doctors at the University of Washington regional burn center in Seattle regularly use hypnosis to help patients alleviate excruciating pain.
Hypnosis and IBS
The Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome With Hypnotherapy
“Previous research from the United Kingdom has shown hypnotherapy to be effective in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The current study provides a systematic replication of this work in the United States. Applied Psychophysiol Biofeedback, 1998 Dec
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
A consensus statement from the National Institutes of Health cited strong evidence that hypnosis can reduce chronic pain associated with irritable bowel.
Hypnotherapy has been successfully employed with sleep disorders such as anxiety and nightmares, and with falling asleep and staying asleep. There is general agreement that relaxation-based approaches, including hypnosis are effective treatments. National Institutes Technology assessment Panel report The Journal of American Medical association.
Hypnosis given during surgical radiology not only diminished patient’s pain and anxiety, but also shortens surgical time and reduces complications for the procedure. Lancet, 2000
Mount Sinai researchers looked at 20 studies on hypnosis and surgical pain and found that adding hypnosis to standard post-surgical care sped recovery almost 90% of the time, in terms of levels of pain, anxiety and the need of pain killers. Open heart surgical patients who undergo hypnosis have fewer post-operative complications and pain Journal of Behavioral Medicine
Hypnosis beneficial for breast surgeries. A Randomized Clinical Trial of a Brief Hypnosis Intervention to Control Side Effects in Breast Surgery Patients.
In a randomized study of 200 women undergoing surgery for breast cancer, those who received a brief hypnosis session before entering the operating room required less anesthesia and pain medication during surgery, and reported less pain, nausea, fatigue and discomfort after surgery than women who did not receive hypnosis. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2007 sept:99(17)
Mind/Body Suggestions control blood flow during surgery. Pre-operative Instruction for Decreased Bleeding During Spinal Surgery
In a trial with 93 spinal surgery patients at the University of California (Davis) Medical Center, those who received specific instructions about blood flow lost an average 500 cubic centimeters of blood, compared to 900 cubic centimeters lost on average by both the controls and a third group taught relaxation techniques. Yale University School of Medicine, Anesth Analg 2006:102
Pre-operative guided imagery improves cardiac surgery outcomes. Effect of Guided Imagery on Length of Stay, Pain and Anxiety in Cardiac Patients.
“Cardiac surgery patients who listened to a pre-op guided imagery surgical tape had significantly less pain, anxiety and two days shorter hospital stay.” Journal of Cardiovascular Management 10, 1999
Pre-operative suggestions improve abdominal surgery outcomes. Effect of Preoperative Suggestion on Postoperative Gastrointestinal Motility
Single-blind trial of abdominal surgery patients, to whom a 5-minute script was read preoperatively suggesting increased gastrointestinal motility after surgery. Suggestion group had a significantly shorter ileus time and was discharged two days earlier, with an estimated savings of $1200 1993 West Journal Medicine 158
Harvard Medical School conducted research on the use of hypnosis to enhance healing and found that not only was there a decrease in perceived pain, intensity of pain, anxiety, and enhance post-surgical recovery and rehabilitation. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis Vol 47 April 1999
Hypnosis in Dermatology
Hypnotherapy in a child with warts, J Development Behavior Pediatrics 1988 April  89-9 Hypnosis Dermatology, Arch Dermatrol. 2000;136:393-399
A comprehensive review of dermatology studies spanning 32 years that involved hypnosis concluded: “A wide spectrum of dermatologic disorders may be improved or cured using hypnosis as an alternative or complementary therapy, including acne excoriee, alopecia areata, atopic dermatitis, congenital ichthyosiform erythroderma, hyshiddrotic dermatitis, erythromelalgia, furuncles, glossodynia,herpes simplex, hyperhidrosis, ichthyosis vulgaris, lichen planus, neurodermatitis, nummular dermatitis, postherpetic neuralgia, pruritus, psoriasis, rosacea, trichotillomania, urticaria, verruca vulgaris, and vitiligo.” Arch Dermatol. 2000 March
Hypnosis is the most effective way of giving up smoking, according to the largest ever scientific comparison of ways of breaking the habit, [New Scientist 10/92]
A team of researchers from the University of Connecticut reviewed six weight loss studies and compared the effects of cognitive therapy-identifying triggers and diffusing them with and without hypnosis. About 70% of the overweight people who got hypnosis lost more weight and kept it off longer than those who got talk therapy.