Hypnosis is a state of restful alertness that promotes deeply focused concentration. While in a hypnotic state, the patient may be unaware of his or her surroundings and more open to suggestion. Hypnosis is considered to be a type of complementary therapy, used in addition to standard medical treatment rather than as a replacement for it. Hypnotic suggestion has been a part of healing practices since ancient times, when early healers would induce altered states in order to aid positive suggestion. The word hypnosis comes from the Greek word hypnos, meaning sleep.

Benefits of Hypnosis

Hypnosis was evaluated by the National Institutes of Health and found to be of possible benefit for treating chronic pain when used in conjunction with standard medical care. Hypnosis may also be effective in reducing anxiety and fear, reducing the frequency and severity of headaches, and controlling pain and bleeding during dental procedures. Although scientific evidence does not support the claim that hypnosis can hinder the development or progression of cancer, it may help to improve quality of life for cancer patients.

Hypnosis can be used to reduce stress and anxiety and create a sense of well being as well as change negative behaviors like smoking, alcohol dependence and wetting the bed. It is used along with other methods by mental health professionals to help patients overcome common fears, such as the fear of flying. Hypnosis can sometimes be used to relieve pain caused by cancer. Supporters do not claim that hypnosis can cure cancer or any other disease, or that it consistently achieves the desired results. However, they note that it can be a useful addition to conventional therapy for some conditions such as cancer.

Research on Hypnosis

Research has also shown that hypnosis can help to reduce anticipatory nausea and vomiting, which may occur after a few doses of chemotherapy have caused these side effects. According to a report from the National Institute of Health, there is evidence that hypnosis can help reduce some kinds of cancer pain. In 2006, researchers reviewed studies of children with cancer and found that hypnosis appeared to reduce pain and emotional distress resulting from medical procedures. In one study published in 2008, giving breast cancer patients a brief hypnosis session before surgery reduced the subsequent pain, nausea, discomfort, fatigue, and emotional pain.


American Cancer Society

Hypnosis Specialist