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Pain Research and Hypnosis

I have been doing a lot of research lately and I wanted to share a few interesting facts I’ve found about pain research and hypnosis. Research, in particular, psychology, has always been fascinating to me. I love to see what we are learning about the mind.  Even more so when psychologists are talking about hypnosis. I never know what I am going to find.

Recently, I keep finding studies promoting the benefits of hypnosis.  Even the APA has touted some of its benefits in their articles.  We just keep finding more benefits.  For example, look back at last week’s post about heartburn and hypnosis.  I would never have imagined we could use hypnosis to treat heartburn! With that in mind, let’s examine how pain research and hypnosis have become intertwined.

Pain Research & Hypnosis

While the research may not be able to explain why it works, we know that hypnosis works.  Various studies continually show that it is an asset both alone or in combination with other therapies.  Everyday hypnotists around the world use it to treat depression, pain, phobias, and anxiety.  It is used both alone and in combination with other therapies.  Some professionals even claim that patients can learn to hypnotize themselves. If this is the case, patients are becoming empowered to improve their own situations.

To quote Michael Yapko of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis “Hypnosis works and the empirical support is unequivocal in that regard. It really does help people…but hypnosis isn’t a therapy in and of itself. Most people wouldn’t regard it that way.”

Surgical Hypnosis?

One study suggested that hypnosis could be used before a surgery. In this study, patients received a 15-minute hypnosis session before they went under anesthesia. The results showed that the patients reported less post-surgical pain, nausea, fatigue, and discomfort. In addition, the study showed that the patients spent less time in the hospital, saving the facility around $772 per hypnosis subject. Best of all, those in the hypnosis group required less analgesia and sedatives during surgery.

“Hypnosis helps patients to reduce their distress and have positive expectations about the outcomes of surgery,” Montgomery says. “I don’t think there is any magic or mind control.”

Other Interesting Factoids

  • Another study showed that burn victims can even benefit from hypnosis according to the research.  IN 2007 Rehabilitation Psychology (Vol. 52, No. 3), found that hypnosis before wound debridements significantly reduced the pain reported by the patients.
  • For centuries hypnosis has been used in pain control.   During the Civil War, the Amry surgeons sometimes hypnotized injured soldiers before performing amputations.  Smith, Brenden L. (2011) Hypnosis Today. American Psychological Association, Vol. 42. No.


Hope these little tidbits have been as fascinating to you as they have been to me.  No matter what type of pain or problem you may suffer from if you would like to know if hypnosis can help you call Hoosier Hypnosis for a free consultation.



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