Palliative care is a specialized form of medical care that focuses on providing comfort and support to patients suffering from serious illnesses. The goal is to relieve symptoms, alleviate pain, and improve the quality of life for patients and their families. Palliative care aims to address physical, emotional, spiritual, and social aspects of suffering, and provides support to patients and their families throughout the illness trajectory (National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, 2018). Hypnotherapy is a psychological intervention that has been found to be effective in palliative care.
Clinical Hypnotherapy has been found to be effective in managing a range of symptoms experienced by patients receiving palliative care. One of the most commonly reported symptoms in palliative care is pain. A systematic review by Lee et al. (2016) examined the effectiveness of hypnotherapy on pain reduction in palliative care. The authors concluded that hypnotherapy was effective in reducing pain intensity and some associated symptoms such as anxiety and fatigue. Another meta-analysis by Elkins et al. (2015) found similar results, concluding that hypnotherapy was effective in reducing pain intensity and other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and sleep disturbance.
In addition to pain, hypnotherapy has also been found to be effective in reducing anxiety and depression in palliative care patients. A randomized controlled trial by Richardson et al. (2007) found that hypnotherapy was effective in reducing anxiety and depression symptoms in breast cancer patients undergoing palliative care. Similarly, a study by Parkinson et al. (2016) found that hypnotherapy was effective in reducing anxiety and depression symptoms in patients receiving palliative care for advanced cancer.
Hypnotherapy has also been found to be effective in managing other symptoms such as dyspnea, nausea, and fatigue. A study by Rezvani et al. (2011) found that hypnotherapy was effective in reducing dyspnea in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). A systematic review by Chiu et al. (2015) examined the effectiveness of hypnosis on reducing chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in cancer patients. The authors concluded that hypnosis was effective in reducing these symptoms. In addition, a study by Spiegel et al. (2013) found that hypnosis was effective in reducing fatigue in patients with breast cancer.
In conclusion, studies have shown that clinical hypnotherapy has been found to be effective in managing symptoms and improving the quality of life of patients receiving palliative care. Hypnosis has been found to be effective in reducing pain, anxiety, depression, dyspnea, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. Hypnotherapy has been found to be effective in reducing anxiety and depression symptoms in patients with advanced cancer. The evidence supports the use of hypnosis and hypnotherapy as complementary therapies in the management of symptoms in palliative care. As interdisciplinary teams continue to develop and refine effective metastatic disease treatments, hypnosis offers a promising adjunct to help alleviate discomfort and distress for patients receiving palliative care.
It is important to seek hypnotherapy with a registered or licensed professional. As of this writing, hypnotherapy remains unregulated in Canada. This means that anyone can read a book or take a weekend online workshop and legally call themselves a hypnotherapist. ARCH Canada requires it’s registered members to have extensive training, ongoing continuing education and just as important, a submit a clean criminal background check that includes a vulnerable sector. There are no other associations of it’s kind with these requirements.
Barber, J., & Adrian, W. J. (2017). Introduction to hypnosis and hypnotherapy. Springer.
Chiu, A. S., Chiu, N., & Chow, E. (2015). How does hypnosis reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 21(9), 531-537.
Elkins, G., Jensen, M. P., Patterson, D. R., & Hypnosis Task Force of the American Pain Society. (2015). Hypnotherapy for the management of chronic pain. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 63(2), 152-174.
Lee, S. Y., Lim, H. J., & Yoo, S. Y. (2016). Systematic review and meta-analysis of the efficacy of clinical hypnosis for the management of pain in palliative care. American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, 33(3), 247-256.
Lynn, S. J., Kirsch, I., & Rhue, J. W. (2015)