Hypnosis in the News:


Complementary therapies speed up post-surgery recovery


This article in the Quad-City Times addresses many complementary/alternative therapies that have been studied for their effectiveness in pre and post surgery times. Here is one portion of the article:

Guided Imagery:
Guided imagery is a form of focused relaxation that helps create harmony between the mind and body. It is a way of focusing your imagination to create calm, peaceful images in your mind, thereby providing a “mental escape.” Guided imagery provides a powerful psychological strategy enhancing a person’s coping skills.
Imagery involves all the senses, as well as one’s whole body and emotions.
An experiment was done to determine the effects of listening to audiotapes of relaxation with guided imagery. This experiment involved 24 patients undergoing gall bladder removal surgery. Patients were randomly assigned to two groups, one group with the audiotapes and one without.
The group with audiotapes showed much less anxiety and faster wound healing.

Hypnosis either with the help of a clinical hypnotist a few days before surgery or self-hypnosis techniques have also shown to be beneficial for surgical patients.
Patients who use hypnosis for surgical preparation have shown to experience less pain and bleeding and lower anxiety levels before and after their surgery.
Go HERE to read the full article.



Using Hypnosis to Keep Your New Year's Resolutions

SAN DIEGO, CA - Only eight percent of people who make New Year's Resolutions actually keep or achieve them, according to recent studies.

One tool that can make it easier for people to keep and succeed with their resolutions is Hypnosis. Many people are using it to eliminate negative beliefs, create positive ones and increase motivation.

"Hypnosis is not like what you see in the movies and on TV," said Master Hypnotist Diane Edwards, CMH, owner of Hypnosis Groups and CEO of The San Diego Hypnosis Clinic. "It is not a form of mind control. It is a natural state that we all experience several times a day."

The use of hypnosis is gaining traction from many members of the medical community. Hypnosis is widely used in Europe for anesthesia. The Stanford (University) Center for Integrative Medicine website states that hypnosis can be used for: "pain and physical symptom control, smoking control, procedural anxiety management, medical treatment side effects such as nausea and vomiting, stress management, phobias and stress-related neurological problems."

According to the Mayo Clinic website, "Hypnosis can be used to help you gain control over undesired behaviors or to help you cope better with anxiety or pain. It's important to know that although you're more open to suggestion during hypnosis, you don't lose control over your behavior."

In fact, people experiencing hypnosis are usually aware of everything that is going on. Some examples of the spontaneous hypnotic state are similar to playing or listening to music, reading an enjoyable book or watching television.

It is wildly popular with the general public for successful weight loss, quitting smoking and stress reduction.

"The reason it's so tough for people to keep their resolutions is that their subconscious programming sabotages them," Edwards said. "Hypnosis can help you to change those negative beliefs to much more positive ones, so that it becomes easier to achieve your goals, whatever they might be."

 how does hypnosis relieve pain?

  by Allan Cyna and Marion Andrew

Hypnosis in one form or another has been around for thousands of years, but until recently, evidence to support its biological and clinically powerful effects have been lacking. Today hypnosis is used by clinicians around the world to help manage pain, childbirth, phobia and anxiety – particularly in children.

What is hypnosis?

Hypnosis is thought to be a state of conscious awareness which most people experience transiently many times each day.
Hypnotic experiences and responses tend to involve:

  • absorption or a state of focused concentration or attention;
  • dissociation, where the patient’s perception of the external environment diminishes; and
  • suggestibility (the ability of an individual to respond, in a non-volitional way, to a verbal or non-verbal communication).

People describe the hypnotic mindset in different ways such as, “being beside oneself”, “out of body experiences”, “daydreaming”, “tuning out” or a meditative state.

Until the 19th century, hypnosis was the only means of having surgery comfortably. James Braid), a Scottish surgeon working in Bengal in the 1840s, operated on several hundred patients using hypnosis and his success subsequently received widespread acclaim.

Over the years, clinicians have reported dissociation from pain, decreased bleeding and reduced infection, suggesting an evolutionary basis for why we have the ability to enter a hypnotic “trance-like” state when under extreme stress.

Following the establishment of pharmacological anaesthesia – with its greater effectiveness and reliability – the practice of hypnosis languished for decades, becoming little more than a parlour trick. It was almost forgotten until relatively recently.

Unfortunately, the term “hypnosis” has many negative connotations and its use by stage hypnotists as entertainment has probably contributed to many doctors not taking the clinical use of hypnosis seriously.

How it works

Contrary to popular belief, hypnosis is not sleep; hypnotic responses can be elicited in minutes or less; and a conscious belief that it will be effective is not required to achieve a benefit. Patients experiencing hypnosis can hear what’s happening around them and can halt the process at any stage if they wish.

The success of hypnosis in a clinical setting requires trust between doctor and patient to go along with the process. But a borderline, and sometimes frank, hypnotic state frequently occurs spontaneously in hospital patients where the overwhelming stress of the external environment – or the thought of painful procedures, or feelings of being a victim to illness – can facilitate an internal focus of attention. 

This can make patients highly responsive to suggestions, positive or negative. And it means that when a doctor says, before a potentially painful procedure, “this is going to sting”, the communication can function as a hypnotic suggestion and is likely to increase pain. In contrast, the positive suggestion, “the local anaesthetic will numb the area and allow us to perform the procedure more comfortably” is likely to decrease pain of local anaesthetic injection.

What does the research say?

Advances in brain function imaging using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) scanning techniques have allowed us to see that hypnosis modulates activity in the anterior cingulate cortex, which links the limbic (emotions) and sensory cortical areas of the brain during hypnotic pain relief. This appears to allow sensations that would normally be experienced as painful to no longer have the suffering or negative emotions that would normally be associated with them.

A labour contraction, for example, can be felt as either the most terrifying and painful of sensations or a wonderfully fulfilling experience that tells the mother she is getting closer to her baby. These very different perceptions may be experienced despite the intensity of uterine contractions being identical.

Anaesthetists in Belgium have successfully used hypnosis to help thousands of patients minimise their need for general anaesthesia during thyroidectomy (surgical removal of they thyroid gland), mastectomy (removal of the breast) and plastic surgery.

Meanwhile, US researchers are currently investigating the effectiveness of hypnosis and suggestion in the management of chronic and procedural pain including burns.

And our own institution is researching the effectiveness of hypnosis in managing childbirth pain, along with investigators in Denmark, the United Kingdom and the University of Tasmania.

How is it used?

Hypnosis in the formal sense – where a patient receives an induction, treatment, and an alerting procedure – is more commonly practiced by clinical psychologists and not widely used in hospitals. Although a number of hospitals around the world use hypnotic techniques, the main clinical application is to use suggestions to supplement anaesthesia drugs and techniques as part of a multimodal approach to patient care.

Hypnosis has been used at Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital for more than three decades, since Dr Graham Wicks, a medical hypnotherapist at the hospital, pioneered its use. Over the years, hypnosis has been used to treat thousands of children with problems as diverse as bedwetting, pain, and helping children comfortably use hypnotic anaesthesia with needles and renal dialysis.

Today, several paediatricians and anaesthetists at our institution are trained in hypnosis and use it to supplement patient care where indicated.

As anaesthetists, we use hypnotic techniques to help patients feel more in control and to supplement and enhance their anaesthesia experience. Common examples include assisting children and adults with their induction of anaesthesia, burns dressings, treatment of needle phobia, assistance with childbirth pain and preparation of patients for surgery.

It’s very rare for procedures to be performed entirely using hypnosis.

The main value of hypnosis as a technique is to assist patients having drips and needles inserted more comfortably and usefully supplement a less than perfect local anaesthetic. The belief that the patient can do more than he or she thinks (and more than the doctor believes is possible) is likely to generate surprising therapeutic responses.


Bill Murray used hypnosis to treat cat allergy  

Actor Bill Murray used hypnosis to cure his allergy to cats so he could share scenes with a feline in his film "St. Vincent."

The "Lost in Translation" star plays a curmudgeonly hermit who spends most of his time with his pet cat Felix in the new movie, so Murray took an unconventional measure to treat his allergy to film with the animal.

He told Ellen DeGeneres in an interview on her talk show on Wednesday, "I read someplace that allergies are psychosomatic and you can actually hypnotize yourself and overcome the allergy.

"So I used to do that. I used to go to girls' houses and they had cats and all of a sudden I'd be looking at them crying and they'd be like, 'What did I say?' and I'd go, 'No, it's not you!' So I learned to hypnotize myself and get over it.

"But then I decided I didn't really like cats that much, so I stopped. I'm more of a dog guy. But for the movie I went back to that and it worked."

  Copyright WENN.com


5 Science-Backed Health Benefits Of Hypnosis

It sounds like the work of sorcerers and scam artists, but hypnosis can play a very real role in protecting and promoting health.

This isn't the “You are getting very sleepy..." hypnosis you're used to seeing in pop culture references, but a clinical procedure used in conjunction with other therapies and treatments, according to the American Psychological Association. Hypnosis for health benefits "should be conducted only by properly trained and credentialed health care professionals (e.g. psychologists) who also have been trained in the use of hypnosis and who are working within the limits of their professional expertise,” according to the APA's website.

The "state of inner absorption, concentration and focused attention” brought on by hypnosis may help us use our minds more powerfully, according to the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH). And harnessing the powers of the mind has inspired researchers and clinicians in various fields to explore the use of hypnosis in a number of health outcomes.

Medical hypnosis, sometimes called hypnotherapy, uses verbal repetition and/or mental imagery (facilitated by a hypnotherapist or one's self) to induce a "trance-like state" of increased focus. It's typically described as feeling calm and relaxing and usually opens people up to the power of suggestion, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Once disregarded as a parlor trick, hypnosis is increasingly believed to improve many of those outcomes. The American Medical Association approved hypnosis as a therapy in 1958 (although it later rescinded its position, according to the ASCH), and the APA followed suit three years later, according to Harvard Medical School. That's not to say it's a panacea: In fact, more research is needed to prove lasting benefits of hypnosis for certain facets of health, such as weight loss or smoking cessation. But more promising results exist in other areas of study. Here are a few of the science-backed benefits of hypnosis to consider.

Hypnosis can help improve deep sleep.
In previous studies of the effects of hypnosis on sleep, study participants were simply asked to report back on how well (or poorly!) they felt they slept after hypnosis. But in a recent study, Swiss researchers were able to measure its effects by monitoring brain activity in a group of healthy, young women as they took a 90-minute nap after listening to a hypnotic suggestion tape. The women who were deemed the most susceptible to hypnosis spent 80 percent more time in slow-wave sleep (the deep, restorative phase of our shut-eye) after listening to the hypnosis tape than they did after listening to a neutral spoken text. "[T]he results may be of major importance for patients with sleep problems and for older adults," lead researcher Maren Cordi of the University of Zurich said in a statement. "In contrast to many sleep-inducing drugs, hypnosis has no adverse side effects."

It can ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
In a 2003 study, 71 percent of 204 irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients reported improved symptoms after 12 weekly hour-long hypnosis sessions, the APA reported. Of those who reported improvements, 81 percent continued to feel better up to six years after the hypnosis treatment had ended, according to the study. In a 2012 study, 85 percent of IBS patients who reported improvement after hypnosis still felt better up to seven years later. "The conclusion is that hypnotherapy could reduce both the consumption of healthcare and the cost to society, and that hypnosis therefore belongs in the arsenal of treatments for IBS," researcher Magnus Simrén said in a statement.

Hypnosis can quell hot flashes.
Among postmenopausal women who reported at least 50 hot flashes a week, five weekly hypnosis sessions cut hot flashes by 74 percent 12 weeks later, a 2013 study found. Meanwhile, women who did not receive hypnosis but instead had weekly sessions with a clinician only experienced a 17 percent drop in hot flashes.

It can ease pain.
Hypnosis is perhaps most well-researched in the context of managing pain. Two meta-analyses of existing pain and hypnosis research, published in 2000 and 2009, deemed hypnosis effective at lowering pain associated with a number of conditions, including fibromyalgia, arthritis and cancer, but noted that few psychologists were using it, and those who were had little standardization in administering hypnotherapy.

Hypnosis can calm nerves.
Because of its ability to harness the powers of the mind, hypnosis is often employed to relieve anxieties related to other medical procedures, like surgery, scans or even giving birth, called state anxiety. "The mechanism may be similar to the placebo effect -- in which patients' expectations play a major role in how they feel," Melinda Beck wrote for the Wall Street Journal in 2012. "Hypnosis, in turn, can help patients adjust those expectations to minimize pain, fear and disability." More research is needed to determine if hypnosis might alleviate generalized anxiety disorder or what's called trait anxiety, or anxiety relating to personality rather than a specific event, according to a 2010 review of the research. Preliminary studies have started to examine hypnosis in depression treatment as well, but more research is needed.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story neglected to state that the AMA has since changed its position on hypnosis.
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Singer Alama Kante, who had throat surgery under medical hypnosis, hangs out in Paris on Monday. | REUTERS

Under hypnosis, singer warbles through throat surgery to protect vocal cord

PARIS – A professional singer said she sang through a throat surgery carried out under hypnosis in France to ensure that doctors did not harm her vocal cords.

Alama Kante, 31, who is from Guinea and specializes in traditional African songs, revealed the operation more than two months after it took place in April, saying earlier this week she was now fully healed.

“I remember (during surgery) this voice singing all the time, my voice going around in my head because I said to myself it is out of the question that I lose my voice,” said Kante, who lives in France and is the niece of Guinean singer Mory Kante.

The procedure to remove her thyroid gland, whose cells had become enlarged and was thus a cancer risk, was unorthodox. The operation is usually conducted under anesthetic, with a tube inserted down the throat.

Recognizing that the tumor extraction might truncate Kante’s singing range and that the tube might damage vocal cords and important nerves, Dr. Gilles Dhonneur opted for medical hypnosis to allow the patient to remain awake and able to respond during the procedure.

Dhonneur, head of anesthesiology at the Henri-Mondor de Cretail Hospital outside Paris, has been perfecting the technique of medical hypnosis for two years. “The pain of such an operation is unbearable if you’re conscious,” Dhonneur told Le Parisian daily. “Only medical hypnosis would allow someone to tolerate such an ordeal.”

Kante remembers the hypnotist telling her that the pain she felt was that of childbirth, and remembers the song lyrics she sang to help control it: “Fight, never give up . . .”

“There was a moment where I really felt pain . . . and it passed, the pain passed and afterwards it was normal, as if I were in a dream,” said Kante.

Video:  click HERE 



 Hypnosis For Children
Children are often better candidates for hypnosis than adults, says one clinical psychologist, and the process can help resolve such problems as pain, anxiety, bed wetting, and asthma.
Robert Shacter of New York's Mount Sinai School of Medicine talked about children and hypnosis on The Saturday Early Show. He says children tend to respond to hypnotic suggestion better than adults because they are more in touch with their imaginations.

Children can be hypnotized as early as age 3, he says, adding, "But in my personal experience, I have found that children ages 5 or older respond best to the treatment."

Here is part of a pre-interview with Robert Shacter.

The easiest way to hypnotize a child is to have them focus on a point, he explains. They will do that until their eyes begin to feel heavy, and they become sleepy. You now have them in a trance-like state. Once they are in this state, you begin to tell the child stories that can alleviate whatever problems they may have.

What role, if any, does the parent play during a hypnosis session?
As in any therapy, it is important for parents to know what is going on. But in the actual session the parent is either not there or in the backround. So they really don't play any part in the actual therapy.

How many times does a typical child visit a hypnotist?
Most children attend 4 to 8 sessions with a qualified hypnotist. During that time, the hypnotist can teach a child how to hypnotize himself.

How do I know if my child if a candidate for hypnosis?
Most children are good candidates. It just depends on whether the problems they are having can be helped by hypnosis.

Here are some of the problems that might be helped by hypnosis:

  • Pain. Hypnosis is very effective at alleviating the pain of children undergoing cancer treatments. What we do is help the child go somewhere else, away from the pain. By accessing the unconscious, the child creates images that forces them to focus on something other than the pain they are feeling.
    For example, if you squeezed your hand very tightly to the point that it hurt and then someone asked you to focus on something else, you would not be as aware of the pain in your hand.

  • Anxiety. A child who is anxious often breathes more quickly and has a higher heart rate. With hypnosis, we can teach them to breathe more slowly, lower their heart rate and take them away from whatever is making them anxious.

  • Bed Wetting. Many doctors prescribe medicine for children who have a bed-wetting problem. But now more physicians are turning to hypnosis, which has very positive results. Part of the reason that it works so well is that kids play an active role in their treatment rather than just taking a pill.

  • Asthma. When children with asthma feel their throats constricting, they begin to feel anxious and breathe more heavily. With hypnosis, you teach the child to calm down and bring them to another place.
How effective is hypnosis in children?
In the right child, hypnotism can be very successful. Remember: There are some children who have a harder time letting go. But for those who can, the results can be very positive. Another plus of hypnosis is that unlike drugs, the risk of harm is low.

Why aren't more doctors using hypnotism?
It's just not taught that much in schools, and some people still don't want to recognize it as a viable alternative. However, it is becoming more popular, and many insurers will cover it.

For more information, go to www.child.com/web_links   


Cancer Patients Turn To Hypnosis To Ease Side Effects Of Radiation


NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — A technique that magicians and entertainers have used for years may be useful as a form of cancer therapy.

It doesn’t treat the cancer itself, but hypnosis has been shown to ease the side effects of cancer therapy, CBS 2′s Dr. Max Gomez explained.

Claire Zion was given radiation treatments after a double mastectomy in 2010. She said that hypnosis kept her energized during her cancer treatments.

“I rode my bike to radiation every day,” she said.

Radiation tends to leave patients seriously fatigued, but Zion, 54, took part in a study at Mt. Sinai Hospital where patients underwent cognitive behavioral therapy and hypnosis during treatment.

Patients in the study reported have more energy and less anxiety.

“Feeling anxious and worried can lead to fatigue and that’s one of the steps we’re working with patients to be more in control of,” Guy Montgomery, Mt Sinai Hospital explained.

Researchers found that even after 6 months, patients who underwent the hypnosis and therapy still felt less fatigued.

“They learned the skills that they needed to help themselves feel better over time and hopefully improve their quality of life,” Montgomery explained.

Other studies have found that hypnosis can also ease the pain of cancer treatments.

Zion is now cancer free but has started hypnosis again.

“It teaches you to find a place where you can quiet that noise and comfort yourself,” she said.

The study did not look at immune function but experts said that stress can reduce immunity, so if hypnosis calms a patient it may be good for their immune system. As a side benefit to hypnosis calm patients also sleep better.




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