Hypnosis and suggestion, therapeutic effects
November 25 2015 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.


Hypnosis, also referred to as hypnotherapy or hypnotic suggestion, is an altered state of consciousness. This state of consciousness is usually achieved with the help of a hypnotherapist and is different from your everyday awareness. When you're under hypnosis: Your attention is more focused, you're more responsive to suggestions, and you're more open and less critical or disbelieving.

Hypnosis for chest pain
People with chest pain that's not caused by a heart condition or heartburn may find hypnosis provides significant pain relief and improves their sense of general well-being. The causes of non-cardiac chest pain, as it's termed, are unknown. It can create so much anxiety that many people with the condition actually seek more care than patients with bona fide heart disease.


Hypnosis for irritable bowel syndrome, IBS
The severity of symptoms and the quality of life for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may improve with hypnotherapy, if performed by a qualified hypnotherapist. Seventy-five patients with IBS -- 55 women and 20 men -- participated in a study led by Dr. Graeme D. Smith of the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. The subjects received 5 to 7-1/2 hours of hypnotherapy over a three-month period. Hypnotherapy was induced by eye fixation and this was followed by conventional deepening and relaxation techniques. Patients were encouraged to visualize "the gut as a river," which they perceived as motionless, for example, if they suffered from constipation, and then as a free-flowing river. The opposite imagery was evoked for patients with diarrhea. The participants were instructed in self-hypnosis and given audiocassettes to use at home "to reinforce the effects of hypnotherapy. There was a statistically significant improvement in severity of symptoms after hypnotherapy. Significant improvements were reported for six of the eight items on the quality-of-life questionnaire. Journal of Clinical Nursing, June 2006.


Harefuah. 2013. Use of hypnosis in the treatment of combat post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Clinical reports and observations going back almost two centuries consistently indicate that hypnotherapy is an effective modality for the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Pierre Janet was the first clinician to describe the successful initiation of stepwise hypnotic techniques in PTSD symptom reduction. Hypnotherapy may accelerate the formation of a therapeutic alliance and contribute to a positive treatment outcome. Hypnotic techniques may be valuable for patients with PTSD who exhibit symptoms such as anxiety, dissociation, widespread somatoform pain complaints and sleep disturbances. Hypnotic techniques may also facilitate the arduous tasks of working through traumatic memories, increasing coping skills, and promoting a sense of competency.


Hypnosis and surgery
Hypnosis before breast surgery reduces the amount of medication required during the procedure and lessens postsurgical pain and nausea.


Q. Can you tell me about Erotic Hypnosis? I came across a website that was claiming: With erotic hypnosis, you can: Experience any sexual fantasy in the virtual reality of trance, and have them be completely believable. Just like in dreams... Encounter the man or woman of your dreams, and have them acting just the way you've always wanted... seductive, dominant or submissive...
   A. I really don't know enough about erotic hypnosis to comment on this. I guess if you are mesmerized or in love with someone, they can have the power of erotic hypnosis on you. Or, just like regular hypnosis, if you are susceptible to hypnosis you could be susceptible to someone you are infatuated with whom you would like to engage in erotic hypnosis.


Q. Can hypnosis lead to sexual enhancement?
   A. I'm not sure, but it is possible it the hypnosis is able to induce profound relaxation which can help dilate blood flow to the genital region that has been clamped down by stress.


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