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Is hypnosis a real thing that’s evidence-based?


    The question is: Is hypnosis a real thing that’s evidence-based?

    How Is Hypnosis a Real Thing?

    Hypnosis is an alternative kind of psychological treatment and therapy. Unfortunately, it is often misinterpreted and has a limited scope of use. However, ongoing studies in medicine shed light on how and when hypnosis might be used as a treatment method.

    An experienced hypnotist or hypnotherapist will get a person into a state of hypnosis by inducing a condition of intense concentration or concentrated attention. This step-by-step procedure is led by verbal signals and involves repetition.

    Although the trance-like condition you enter has many characteristics in common with sleep, you are, in fact, completely conscious during the whole experience.

    Your therapist will give you guided recommendations while you are in this trance-like condition to assist you in accomplishing the therapeutic objectives they have set for you.

    Because you are in a heightened level of attention, you may be more receptive to suggestions or advice that, when you are in your normal mental state, you may be more likely to dismiss or brush aside.

    At the end of the session, either the therapist will shake you out of the trance-like condition, or you will be able to get yourself out of it on your own.

    It is not obvious how such a high degree of deep inner concentration and focused attention may affect it.

    When you are in a trance-like condition, hypnotherapy may plant the seeds of new thought patterns in your mind. These new patterns of thinking will quickly get established and flourish.

    Hypnotherapy may also help remove obstacles to more profound processing and acceptance. For example, if your normal mental state may be described as “cluttered,” then it’s possible that your mind cannot take in ideas and instructions.

    Some medical professionals are not persuaded that hypnosis may be utilized to cure either mental illness or physical pain. Despite growing evidence to support hypnosis, not all medical professionals are on board with its use.

    Some medical schools do not train physicians on using hypnosis, and not all mental health practitioners get instruction while they are students. Because of this, medical specialists have considerable confusion over the viability of this potential treatment.

    Even though stage hypnotists and television performances have harmed the public’s image of hypnosis, a growing amount of scientific data supports the advantages of hypnosis in treating various ailments, including pain, sadness, anxiety, and phobias.


    “Hypnosis is effective, and there is clear research backing to support this claim. It is of great assistance to those in need, “According to Michael Yapko, Ph.D., a psychologist who is also a member of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, hypnosis may help patients overcome phobias. “However, hypnosis is not considered a kind of treatment in and of itself. Most people do not see it in that light at all.”

    Patients may be put into a very relaxed state of inner concentration and focused attention via hypnosis, a technique that can be adapted to fit a variety of therapeutic modalities, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy. Patients may also learn to hypnotize themselves at home, which can help them sleep better, lessen chronic pain, or relieve some of the symptoms of sadness or anxiety. This is another way that patients can feel more empowered.

    Hypnosis has been used for pain management for millennia, even during the American Civil War when army doctors hypnotized wounded troops before performing amputations on them.

    Recent research has shown that it is helpful as a method for minimizing discomfort. Guy H. Montgomery, Ph.D., a psychologist who has conducted extensive research on hypnosis and pain management at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where he is the director of the Integrative Behavioral Medicine Program, is considered to be one of the leading researchers in the field. Montgomery holds a doctoral degree in psychology.

    In one research, Montgomery and colleagues compared the efficacy of a 15-minute pre-surgery hypnosis session to an empathetic listening session in a clinical trial with 200 breast cancer patients. The results showed that the hypnosis session was more helpful than the listening session. The researchers described their findings in a paper published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 2007 (Vol. 99, No. 17).

    The study discussed how patients who got hypnosis experienced decreased post-surgical pain, nausea, exhaustion, and discomfort. The research also revealed that the hospital saved $772 per patient in the hypnotherapy group, with the majority of these savings coming from a reduction in the time spent on surgical procedures. In addition, during surgical procedures, hypnotized patients needed a lesser amount of the pain medication lidocaine and the sedative propofol.

    Montgomery and colleagues reported another study’s findings in an article published in Health Psychology in 2009 (Volume 28, Number 3). This study found that combining hypnosis and cognitive-behavioral therapy could reduce fatigue in breast cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy.

    In addition, research has shown that hypnosis may benefit burn sufferers. For example, Shelley Wiechman Askay, Ph.D., David R. Patterson, Ph.D., and colleagues at the University of Washington Medical School found that hypnosis before wound debridements significantly reduced the pain patients reported on a single pain rating questionnaire. This research was published in Rehabilitation Psychology in 2007 (Volume 52, Number 3).

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