Nov 03 2009

Success of Hypnotherapy in Pain Treatment

Category: Hypnotherapy,Pain ManagementPatricia @ 10:51 am

“Chronic pain is a problem that has reached near epidemic proportions,” said Edward Covington, M.D., director of the Chronic Pain Rehabilitation Program at the Cleveland Clinic. “The ‘can do, can cope’ spirit of Americans can lead to untreated chronic pain, which has a severe impact on people’s work, personal relationships, hobbies, and even sex, and can greatly diminish their quality of life. In addition to physical disability, it may also lead to irritability, anxiety, or depression.”

Scientific American Mind (July, 2005) featured an article titled “The Truth and the Hype of Hypnosis” which stated that “hypnosis has been shown to be a real phenomenon with a variety of therapeutic uses- especially in controlling pain,” citing, among others, a 1996 National Institutes of Health panel which judged hypnosis to be an “effective intervention for alleviating pain from cancer and other chronic conditions.” The article further cites a meta-analysis published by the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis which found that “hypnotic suggestions relieved the pain of 75% of 933 subjects. The pain relieving effect of hypnosis is often substantial, and in a few cases the degree of relief matches or exceeds that provided by morphine.” Another meta-analysis of 18 separate studies found that “patients who received cognitive behavioral therapy plus hypnosis for disorders such as obesity, insomnia, anxiety and hypertension showed greater improvement than 70% of those who received psychotherapy alone.” Additionally, the article stated there is strong evidence that hypnosis can be an effective treatment for “asthma; some dermatological disorders, including warts; irritable bowel syndrome; hemophilia; and nausea associated with chemotherapy.”

The success of hypnotherapy in pain treatment and management has a very long history. The following studies are more than 20 years old and the supporting research is mounting.

Speigel and Bloom (1983b) reported that a study of women with metastatic breast cancer showed that patients who received group therapy with training in Hypnosis over a one-year period were able to reduce their pain experience by 50% when compared to a control group. In addition, at a 10-year follow-up of these same women, the Hypnosis treatment group had a mean survival rate of 36.6 months compared to 18.9 months for the controls. This suggests that the intervention may be both important quantitative and important qualitative effects (Spiegel 1989a)

In a neurochemical study of Hypnotic control of pain conducted by Domangue (1985), patients suffering arthritic pain showed a correlation among levels of pain, anxiety and depression. Depression was correlated with dopamine levels and negatively correlated with levels of serotonin and beta endorphin. Following Hypnotherapy, there were clinically and statistically significant decreases in depression, anxiety and pain, and increases in beta endorphin-like substances.

 In a controlled trial conducted by Olness (1987), self-Hypnosis was shown to be significantly more effective than either propranolol or placebo in reducing the frequency of migraine headaches in children between the ages of six and twelve years of age.

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One Response to “Success of Hypnotherapy in Pain Treatment”

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