Part 1 of this article explained how the large amount of studies supporting the effectiveness of hypnotherapy has persuaded the UK government to provide hypnosis to people free on the National Health Service (NHS). I thought it would be useful, then, to give some brief details of some examples of scientific studies which demonstrate just how beneficial hypnotherapy can be for various conditions
CHEST PAINS – many suffer from chest pain even though they do not have heart disease. This is known as non-cardiac chest pain. In some cases, it is linked to anxiety and this can be treated effectively by hypnosis.
In an experiment in Manchester in the UK an NHS hypnotherapy experiment was carried out on 28 patients who were suffering from non-cardiac chest pain. Half received hypnotherapy and the other half received just a placebo. The hypnotherapy group underwent hypnosis that focused on reducing pain and were also given self-hypnosis audios to listen to at home. For those in the hypnotherapy group, 8 out of 10 reported significant improvement at the end of the study.
IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME (IBS) – about 10 – 15% of people are thought to suffer from IBS at any given time and the condition is often linked to anxiety. In an experiment at University Hospital, Manchester, UK sufferers were treated with hypnotherapy for the condition ; this resulted in the majority becoming well over the long-term and requiring significantly less medication.
CYSTIC FIBROSIS – a research study into how effective hypnotherapy is for this condition was conducted at the University of Michigan in the USA. It was found that after the therapy was administered those treated had significantly reduced symptoms (eg coughs, shortness of breath and anxiety). Another study into the condition, this time carried out at New York State University in the USA, found that those who used self-hypnosis for relaxation, pain relief, headache relief and other symptoms of cystic fibrosis met with an overall success rate of 86%.
SMOKING – a study into the effectiveness of hypnotherapy to help people to quit smoking was carried out at the Scott and White Hospital in Texas in the USA. The smokers in the study were given 8 hypnotherapy sessions spread over 2 months (one per week). One week into the hypnotherapy program they were given the hypnotic suggestion that they would stop smoking. To ensure nobody cheated, each person had their levels of carbon monoxide measured (smoking increases the concentration of this highly poisonous chemical in the body). At the end of the treatment period, 40% had quit smoking and, when a 12 week follow-up was carried out, this figure had increased to 60%.
DENTAL – In the field of dentistry, the use of hypnotherapy is becoming increasingly taken advantage of, especially for those who have dental phobia (extreme fear of going to the dentist). It is also used within the profession for the treatment of anxious conditions related to dentistry such as teeth grinding. Furthermore, it is sometimes used for those undergoing dentistry procedures such as fillings and tooth extraction in place of a local or even general anaesthetic; one example of this is when hypnotherapy for pain control is used during tooth implant procedures in which a titanium rod is inserted into the jaw!
CHILD BIRTH – A study into the effectiveness of hypnosis for pain reduction during childbirth was conducted at the Adelaide Hospital in Australia. Women used self-hypnosis and it was found that this led to a 50% reduction in the need for analgesia and a 70% reduction in the need for epidurals. Furthermore, those who had used self-hypnosis were twice as likely to be satisfied with the pain management that they received during labour.
WOUND HEALING – A study into the effectiveness of hypnosis in improving wound healing was conducted at the Harvard Medical School in the USA. The study showed that wounds and broken bones heal faster in those who have been given hypnotherapy compared to those who had not. The study showed that, six weeks after breaking their ankle, those who were given hypnotherapy healed 3 weeks faster and. also. others given hypnotherapy for pain reduction, anxiety reduction, inflammation reduction and accelerated healing before surgical procedures recovered faster from the surgery compared to those who had not received the benefit of hypnotherapy.
Best wishes, David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).