Theory: Research using positron emission tomography (PET) scans, shows that hypnosis might alleviate pain by decreasing the activity of brain areas involved in the experience of suffering. Scientists have found that hypnosis reduced the activity of the anterior cingulate cortex, an area known to be involved in pain, but did not affect the activity of the somatosensory cortex, where the sensations of pain are processed.
Compared the treatment of migraine by hypnosis and auto-hypnosis with the treatment of migraine by the drug prochlorperazine (Stemetil)
Results show that the number of attacks and the number who suffered blinding attacks were significantly lower for the group receiving hypnotherapy than for the group receiving prochlorperazine. For the group on hypnotherapy, these 2 measures were significantly lower when on hypnotherapy than when on previous treatment. It is concluded that further trials of hypnotherapy are justified against some other treatment not solely associated with the ingestion of tablets. Anderson JA, Basker MA, Dalton R Migraine and hypnotherapy. International Journal of Clinical & Experimental Hypnosis 1975; 23(1): 48-58.
Since 1992, we have used hypnosis routinely in more than 1400 patients undergoing surgery. We found that hypnosis used in patients as an adjunct to conscious sedation and local anesthesia was associated with improved intraoperative patient comfort, and with reduced anxiety, pain, intraoperative requirements for anxiolytic and analgesic drugs, optimal surgical conditions and a faster recovery of the patient. We reported our clinical experience and our fundamental research.[Hypnosis and its application in surgery][Article in French] Faymonville ME, Defechereux T, Joris J, Adant JP, Hamoir E, Meurisse M. Service d’Anesthesie-Reanimation, Universite de Liege. Rev Med Liege. 1998 Jul;53(7):414-8.
Analysis of the simple-simple main effects, holding both group and condition constant, revealed that application of hypnotic analgesia reduced report of pain intensity significantly more than report of pain unpleasantness. Dahlgren LA. Kurtz RM. Strube MJ. Malone MD. Differential effects of hypnotic suggestion on multiple dimensions of pain. Journal of Pain & Symptom Management. 1995; 10(6): 464-70.
The improvement was confirmed by the subjective evaluation data gathered with the use of a questionnaire and by a significant reduction in anxiety scores. Melis PM. Rooimans W. Spierings EL. Hoogduin CA. Treatment of chronic tension-type headache with hypnotherapy: a single-blind time controlled study. Headache 1991; 31(10): 686-9.
Patients in the hypnosis group reported less post treatment pain than did patients in the control group. The findings are used to replicate earlier studies of burn pain hypnoanalgesia, explain discrepancies in the literature, and highlight the potential importance of motivation with this population. Patterson DR. Ptacek JT. Baseline pain as a moderator of hypnotic analgesia for burn injury treatment. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology 1997; 65(1): 60-7.
Hypnotic procedures appear to be a useful adjunct to established strategies for the treatment of phantom limb pain and would repay further, more systematic, investigation. Suggestions are provided as to the factors which should be considered for a more systematic research program. Treatment of phantom limb pain using hypnotic imagery. Oakley DA, Whitman LG, Halligan PW. Department of Psychology, University College London, UK.
Hypnosis has been demonstrated to reduce analogue pain, and studies on the mechanisms of laboratory pain reduction have provided useful applications to clinical populations. Studies showing central nervous system activity during hypnotic procedures offer preliminary information concerning possible physiological mechanisms of hypnotic analgesia. Randomized controlled studies with clinical populations indicate that hypnosis has a reliable and significant impact on acute procedural pain and chronic pain conditions. Methodological issues of this body of research are discussed, as are methods to better integrate hypnosis into comprehensive pain treatment. Hypnosis and clinical pain. Patterson DR, Jensen MP. Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle 98104 Psychological Bulletin. 2003 Jul;129(4):495-521.
Attempting to elucidate cerebral mechanisms behind hypnotic analgesia, we measured regional cerebral blood flow with positron emission tomography in patients with fibromyalgia, during hypnotically-induced analgesia and resting wakefulness. The patients experienced less pain during hypnosis than at rest. The cerebral blood-flow was bilaterally increased in the orbitofrontal and subcallosial cingulate cortices, the right thalamus, and the left inferior parietal cortex, and was decreased bilaterally in the cingulate cortex. The observed blood-flow pattern supports notions of a multifactorial nature of hypnotic analgesia, with an interplay between cortical and subcortical brain dynamics. Copyright 1999 European Federation of Chapters of the International Association for the Study of Pain. Functional anatomy of hypnotic analgesia: a PET study of patients with fibromyalgia. Wik G, Fischer H, Bragee B, Finer B, Fredrikson M. Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Karolinska Institute and Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden Eur J Pain. 1999 Mar; 3(1):7-12.
Hypnosis can be a useful adjunct in the emergency department setting. Its efficacy in various clinical applications has been replicated in controlled studies. Application to burns, pain, pediatric procedures, surgery, psychiatric presentations (e.g., coma, somatoform disorder, anxiety, and post traumatic stress), and obstetric situations (e.g., hyperemesis, labor, and delivery) are described. Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2000 May;18 (2):327-38, x. The use of hypnosis in emergency medicine. Peebles-Kleiger MJ. Karl Menninger School of Psychiatry and Mental Health Sciences, Menninger Clinic, Topeka, Kansas, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org