Hypnosis and hypnotherapy have been used as alternative therapies for chronic pain management for decades.
Numerous studies have investigated the effectiveness of hypnosis and hypnotherapy for chronic pain, and the results are promising. In a randomized controlled trial involving patients with chronic low back pain, a hypnosis intervention was found to be more effective in reducing pain intensity and disability compared to a control group (Elkins et al., 2007). Another study involving patients with fibromyalgia reported significant reductions in pain intensity, fatigue, and sleep disturbances after six sessions of hypnotherapy (Bernardy et al., 2011).
In addition, a meta-analysis of 29 randomized controlled trials found that hypnosis interventions produced moderate to large effects in reducing pain intensity compared to control groups (Jensen et al., 2015). The study included various types of chronic pain conditions such as migraine, irritable bowel syndrome, and cancer-related pain.
The mechanisms behind the effectiveness of hypnosis and hypnotherapy for chronic pain are not fully understood. However, it is believed that hypnosis can alter the perception of pain by changing the focus of attention, decreasing anxiety, and inducing relaxation (Jensen et al., 2015). Hypnotherapy can also address psychological factors such as stress, depression, and anxiety, which are commonly associated with chronic pain.
The use of hypnosis and hypnotherapy for chronic pain management is considered safe and non-invasive. However, it should be noted that the effectiveness may vary depending on the type of pain and the individual’s psychological state.
In conclusion, the research findings suggest that hypnosis and hypnotherapy can be effective in reducing chronic pain. These alternative therapies provide a viable option for individuals seeking non-pharmacological approaches to chronic pain management. As hypnotherapy remains an unregulated therapy in Canada, it is recommended that sessions only be partaken with an experienced, registered Clinical Hypnotherapist or Clinical Counseling Hypnotherapist.
Bernardy, K., Füber, N., Köllner, V., & Hauser, W. (2011). Efficacy of hypnosis/guided imagery in fibromyalgia syndrome–a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled trials. BMC musculoskeletal disorders, 12(1), 133.
Elkins, G., Jensen, M. P., Patterson, D. R., & Hypnosis Task Force of the American Pain Society. (2007). Hypnotherapy for the management of chronic pain. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 55(3), 275-287.
Jensen, M. P., Day, M. A., Miró, J., & Neuromodulation, C. (2015). Neuromodulatory treatments for chronic pain: efficacy and mechanisms. Nature Reviews Neurology, 11(10), 569.
Milling, L. S., & Otis, J. D. (2015). The current status of hypnosis in chronic pain management: evidence and clinical implications. Journal of Pain Research, 8, 75.