Clinical hypnotherapy has been gradually gaining momentum in the medical mainstream as a legitimate tool supporting healthy change. I have been in practice since 2001, and in the past 5 years the number of clients looking for help related to medical conditions has grown significantly.

The value of hypnotherapy in the clinical setting is nothing new. In fact, research has been validating this application for 25 years or more. Its just taken a while for results to filter through to the mainstream.

A University of Florida study revealed that learning self-hypnosis gives a patient greater control over stress, anxiety and pain of medical operations and childbirth.

“Training patients in hypnosis prior to undergoing surgery is a way of helping them develop a sense of control,” says Dr. Paul Schauble, “It also helps them better understand what they can do to bring about a more satisfying and rapid recovery.”

Dr. Schauble also said, “We’ve found, in working with individual patients, that they often feel literally stripped of control when they go into the hospital.”

“The surgeon may do a good job of explaining the surgery, but patients’ anxiety may make it difficult for them to absorb or comprehend. This can result in undue apprehension that can create complications or prolonged recovery.”

Hypnotherapy is so effective because it accesses the subconscious mind, the home of all habits, values, values and beliefs. It is also the control center, regulating all physical and emotional functions whether we are consciously aware of it or not.

Another study tested the effectiveness of a 15-minute pre-surgery hypnosis session versus an empathic listening session with 200 breast cancer patients. Results showed hypnosis patients reported less post-surgical pain, nausea, fatigue and discomfort.

This study also reported that the hypnosis group saved $772/patient mainly due to reduced surgical time. These patients also required less analgesic lidocaine and the sedative propofol during surgery. (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2007)

Hypnotherapy isn’t difficult to do, it feels really good, and in addition to physically preparing patients for surgery it also offers sense of peaceful calming confidence. Individuals, both young and old, feel in relaxed, focused and confidently in control.

This study looked at the effects of hypnosis/guided imagery on the postoperative course of children. Reports validated significantly lower postoperative pain ratings and shorter hospital stays. Anxiety was decreased for the guided imagery group but increased postoperatively for the control group. This study demonstrates the positive effects of hypnosis/guided imagery for the pediatric surgical patient. (Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics 1996)

By: Paul Gustafson RN CH