Clinical Hypnosis / Hypnotherapy
Clinical hypnosis/hypnotherapy is one of the modalities in mind-body medicine which is increasingly used in medical specialities, psychiatry, psychology and social work. A technology review was conducted and showed hypnosis reduced acute procedural pain and is at least as effective as other complementary therapies. When compared to standard care control, hypnosis produced significantly lower pain ratings. Hypnotic analgesia seemed to be especially effective in minor surgical procedures. Interventions with more than one sessions reported more significant effect than did studies involving only one session. Shorter intervention time (≤ 30 minutes) and performed before the day of procedure produced the best results. For women in labour, the women who received hypnosis were less likely to use pharmacological pain relief or analgesia than those in control groups, however no significant difference was seen for sense of coping with the labour and satisfaction with pain relief.
In chronic pain involving physical disability group, hypnosis offered effective short-term pain relief. For elderly patients with chronic pain, hypnosis provided more prolonged analgesic effect as adjunctive therapy to pharmacological treatment compared to massage during hospitalisation. There was no difference in long term effect of pain intensity and mood between the hypnosis and massage groups.
In reducing exam anxiety, hypnosis was an effective therapy. A combination of hypnotherapy with other psychotherapy was more effective at reducing test anxiety than the hypnosis alone and had positive prolonged effects. On emotional distress (anxiety, depression) in adults undergoing surgical or medical procedures, hypnosis was found to be effective especially when given preoperatively or before procedure compared to intraoperatively or during procedure. For cancer patients with anxiety, hypnosis was able to reduce anxiety , especially for paediatric cancer patients who experience procedure-related stress. Patient was able to achieve deeper trance state when hypnosis was delivered by live hypnotherapist compared to audio hypnosis. The treatment was more effective when it combined therapist delivery with selfhypnosis.
In conclusion, hypnotic intervention was associated with a moderate reduction in depressive symptoms. Hypnotherapy was not found to be superior compared to other interventions such as brief attention, pharmacological treatment and psychological treatment for smoking cessation.
By Dr. Erni Zurina