Hypnosis and Diabetes


Diabetes is a condition where the amount of glucose in your blood is too high because the body cannot use it properly.

This is because your pancreas either doesn’t produce any insulin, or not enough insulin, to help glucose enter your body’s cells, or the insulin that is produced does not work properly (known as insulin resistance).

Insulin is the hormone produced by the pancreas that allows glucose to enter the body’s cells, where it is used as fuel for energy so we can work, play and generally live our lives. It is vital for life.

Glucose comes from digesting carbohydrate and is also produced by the liver.
If you have diabetes, your body cannot make proper use of this glucose so it builds up in the blood and can’t be used as fuel.

There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes develops when glucose can’t enter the body’s cells to be used as fuel. This happens when either:

There is no insulin to unlock the cells (Type 1)
There is not enough insulin or the insulin is there but not  working properly (Type 2).

Other types of Diabetes


People have been entering hypnotic-type trances for thousands and thousands of years; various forms of meditation play an important role in many cultures’ religions. But the scientific conception of hypnotism wasn’t born until the late 1700s.

The father of modern hypnotism is Franz Mesmer, an Austrian physician. Mesmer believed hypnosis to be a mystical force flowing from the hypnotist into the subject (he called it “animal magnetism”). Although critics quickly dismissed the magical element of his theory, Mesmer’s assumption, that the power behind hypnosis came from the hypnotist and was in some way inflicted upon the subject, took hold for some time. Hypnosis was originally known as mesmerism, after Mesmer, and we still use its derivative, “mesmerize,” today.Study 1: Hypnosis for Diabetes – Review of Research.

Hypnosis has been used in the following studies as an adjunct therapy in the treatment of both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.


Hypnosis as an adjunct therapy in the management of diabetes.

Results: The research literature shows promising results for hypnosis as an adjunct therapy in the management of diabetes that merit further exploration. Multimodal treatments seem especially promising, with hypnosis as an adjunct to insulin treatments in the management of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes for stabilization of blood glucose and decreased peripheral vascular complications.

Notes: Because diabetes has important psychological components, it seems reasonable to consider hypnosis as an adjunct therapy for diabetes. This paper examines the empirical literature on the effectiveness of hypnosis in the management of diabetes, including regulation of blood sugar, increased compliance, and improvement of peripheral blood circulation.

International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 2008, Jan. 56(1): 63-72.
By: Y. Xu, E. Cardeña, Lund University, Lund, Sweden

Study 2: Hypnosis to Improve Compliance in Adolescent Diabetics. 

A Hypnotherapeutic Approach to the Improvement of Compliance in Adolescent Diabetics

Results: After treatment with hypnosis, the average HgbA1C (an important blood test used to determine how well diabetes is being controlled; hemoglobin A1c provides an average of your blood sugar control over a six to 12 week period; the normal range for the hemoglobin A1c test is between 4% and 5.6%) dropped from 13.2% to 9.7%, and the average fasting blood sugar from 426 mg/dl to 149 mg/dl, values which are consistent with good compliance.

Notes: Adolescents with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) have a rate of noncompliance in the researchers’ clinic of approximately 20% despite all of the usual measures aimed at securing compliance. Seven insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) patients ranging in age from 11 to 19 years were managed in the clinic with all of the usual modalities, but all remained in long-term poor control during the 6 months immediately prior to the study. To ensure that each patient would serve as his/her own control, no changes were made in his/her management other than the addition of hypnosis. Six of the seven patients were followed for more than 6 months. No changes were made in insulin, diet, or exercise as prescribed.

American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, Volume 32, Issue 3, 1990
By: Harold Ratner M.D., Lillian Gross M.D., Jose Casas M.D. and Salvador Castells M.D., State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center, USA

Study 3: Hypnosis for Diabetic Children, Adolescents and Adults
Hypnosis and diabetes: Applications for children, adolescents, and adults


Results: The authors discuss research and how hypnosis may lead to disease improvement in diabetes through mind/body interactions.

Notes: The authors discuss how hypnosis can be successfully applied in the treatment of diabetes with children, adolescents and adults.

Australian Journal of Clinical Hypnotherapy and Hypnosis, 27(1), 19-27 (2006)
By: D. Kihslinger, M. Sapp

Study 4: Hypnosis for Adolescents with Diabetes to Address Sleep Problems (which can further negatively impact health)
Cognitive behavioral therapy and hypnotic relaxation to treat sleep problems in an adolescent with diabetes.


Results: Results of this case example and other controlled research suggest that hypnotic relaxation therapy is well accepted, results in good compliance, and serves as a useful adjunctive to cognitive behavioral intervention for sleep problems for adolescents with diabetes.

Notes: Inadequate sleep among adolescents frequently contributes to obesity and reduced academic performance, along with symptoms of anxiety, depression, fatigue, and attention deficits. The etiological bases of sleep quality has been associated with both stress and sleep habits. These problems tend to be especially important for adolescents with diabetes as the effects of poor sleep complicate health outcomes. This case example concerns a 14-year-old adolescent girl with a history of type I diabetes and stress-related sleep difficulties. Treatment included cognitive behavioral methods and hypnotic relaxation therapy.

Journal of Clinical Psychology, Special Issue: Sleep Disturbances, Volume 66, Issue 11, pages 1205-1215, November 2010
By: Michelle M. Perfect, University of Arizona Department of Disability and Psychoeducational Studies, University of Arizona, 1430 E. 2nd St., Tucson, AZ 85721, Gary R. Elkins (Baylor University)

Note About Future Research: Marty Sapp, Professor Department of Educational Psychology, University of Wisconsin, and his research team are currently studying psychological interventions for the treatment of adults with type 2 diabetes. This research is based on the fact that research literature suggests that combining hypnosis with the standard educational management of type 2 diabetes may be helpful to sufferers. See: http://www4.uwm.edu/soe/directory/profiles/sapp.cfm

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Simon Maryan

Former Royal Marine and Human Intelligence Specialist. Now an international speaker, author, trainer and coach sharing lessons from a life of action and how to prepare for and overcome trauma and other stressful situations. I've survived 3 kidnapping & all my experience enabled me to develop extremely strong psychological and mental resilience which I share with people through my speaking engagements delivering a variety of Keynote, motivational and inspirational talks for a wide variety of clients internationally. Some of these include UK Military, FBI, New York Police Department, NYPD Hostage Negotiation Team (the home of Hostage Negotiation), oil and gas companies, banks and UK Government departments.

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