Hypnosis is recognised by the medical profession as a useful and powerful complimentary therapy...
"Enough studies have now accumulated to suggest that the inclusion of hypnotic procedures may be
beneficial in the management and treatment of a wide range of conditions and problems encountered in the practice of medicine, psychiatry and psychotherapy."
Hypnosis and the practice of self-hypnosis may significantly reduce general anxiety, tension and stress in a manner similar
to other relaxation and self-regulation procedures (Schoenberger, 2000). Likewise, hypnotic treatment may assist in
insomnia in the same way as other relaxation methods (Anderson, Dalton & Basker, 1979; Stanton, 1989).
There is encouraging evidence demonstrating the beneficial effects of hypnotherapeutic procedures in alleviating the
symptoms of a range of complaints that fall under the heading ‘psychosomatic illness’. These include tension headaches
and migraine (Alladin, 1988; Holroyd & Penzien, 1990; ter Kuile et al., 1994); asthma (see review of clinical studies by
Hackman, Stern & Gershwin, 2000); gastro-intestinal complaints such as irritable bowel syndrome (Galovski & Blanchard,
1998; Harvey et al., 1989; Whorwell, Prior, & Colgan, 1987; Whorwell, Prior & Faragher, 1984); warts (DuBreuil & Spanos,
1993); and possibly other skin complaints such as eczema, psoriasis and urticaria (Shertzer & Lookingbill, 1987; Stewart &
Thomas, 1995; Zachariae et al., 1996).
Hypnosis is probably at least as effective as other common methods of helping people to stop smoking (see review by
Green & Lynn, 2000). Meta-analyses by Law & Tang (1995) and Viswesvaran & Schmidt (1992) give mean abstinence rates
for hypnosis at 23 per cent and 36 per cent respectively. There is evidence from several studies that its inclusion in a
weight reduction programme may significantly enhance outcome (Bolocofsky, Spinler & Coulthard-Morris, 1985; Kirsch,
Montgomery & Sapirstein, 1995; Levitt, 1993).
Source: The nature of Hypnosis - British Psychological Society report
Hypnosis & cancer
"Significant improvements in self-reported anxiety, depression, interference of hot flashes on daily activities, and sleep were observed for patients who received the hypnosis intervention (P < .005) in comparison to the no treatment control group.
Conclusion: Hypnosis appears to reduce perceived hot flashes in breast cancer survivors and may have additional benefits such as reduced anxiety and depression, and improved sleep."
Research on hypnosis and its effects
In 1999, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) published a Clinical Review of current medical research on hypnotherapy and relaxation therapies, it concludes,
SIn 2001, the Professional Affairs Board of the British Psychological Society (BPS) commissioned a working party of expert psychologists to publish a report entitled The Nature of Hypnosis. Its remit was 'to provide a considered statement about hypnosis and important issues concerning its application and practice in a range of contexts, notably for clinical purposes, forensic investigation, academic research, entertainment and training.' The report provides a concise (c. 20 pages) summary of the current scientific research on hypnosis. It opens with the following introductory remark:
Hypnosis is a valid subject for scientific study and research and a proven therapeutic medium. (BPS, 2001)
With regard to the therapeutic uses of hypnosis, the BPS arrive at much more positive conclusions.
Enough studies have now accumulated to suggest that the inclusion of hypnotic procedures may be beneficial in the management and treatment of a wide range of conditions and problems encountered in the practice of medicine, psychiatry and psychotherapy. (BPS, 2001)
The working party then provided an overview of some of the most important contemporary research on the efficacy of clinical hypnotherapy, which is summarized as follows:
(...) The authors considered a total of 444 studies on hypnotherapy published prior to 2002. By selecting the best quality and most suitable research designs for meta-analysis they narrowed their focus down to 57 controlled trials. These showed that on average hypnotherapy achieved at least 64% success compared to 37% improvement among untreated control groups. (Based on the figures produced by binomial effect size display or BESD.)
According to the authors this was an intentional underestimation. Their professed aim was to discover whether, even under the most skeptical weighing of the evidence, hypnotherapy was still proven effective. They showed conclusively that it was. In fact, their analysis of treatment designs concluded that expansion of the meta-analysis to include non-randomized trials for this data base would also produce reliable results.