ICARUS: Please Help to Share Who We Are and What We Do

This is just a quick post to ask all of my wonderful 10,477 followers who will see this messsage to please click the link below and click Like on the new Facebook page for the not for profit organisation that I have set up with my friend and colleague David Bellamy.

It will make a massive difference for us to have every one of you liking and sharing our page as it will help us achieve our aim of helping as many people as possible in the UK’s uniformed services that are struggling with mental health concerns and don’t know where to turn, have been dropped by other providers or even turned away. Sadly yes this does happen.

So please help us by hitting over 10K likes and just imagine how many people we can reach if you all share the page too, mind blowing possibilities.

Thanks for reading and helping us make a huge difference for so many people that need what we do.

Click below and make a difference

Icarus Online Facebook Page


Hypnosis and Fibromyalgia

This is quite topical at the moment as more and more research is being conducted into the cause and possible treatments for Fibromyalgia, which for many is significantly debilitating and affects every aspect of life.

Fibromyalgia, also called fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), is a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body.

As well as widespread pain, people with fibromyalgia may also have:

  • increased sensitivity to pain
  • fatigue (extreme tiredness)
  • muscle stiffness
  • difficulty sleeping
  • problems with mental processes (known as “fibro-fog”) – such as problems with memory and concentration
  • headaches
  • irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – a digestive condition that causes stomach pain and bloating

What causes fibromyalgia?

The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, but it’s thought to be related to abnormal levels of certain chemicals in the brain and changes in the way the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord and nerves) processes pain messages carried around the body.

It’s also suggested that some people are more likely to develop fibromyalgia because of genes inherited from their parents.

In many cases, the condition appears to be triggered by a physically or emotionally stressful event, such as:

  • an injury or infection
  • giving birth
  • having an operation
  • the breakdown of a relationship
  • the death of a loved one

Read more about the causes of fibromyalgia.

Who’s affected?

Anyone can develop fibromyalgia, although it affects around 7 times as many women as men.

The condition typically develops between the ages of 30 and 50, but can occur in people of any age, including children and the elderly.

It’s not clear exactly how many people are affected by fibromyalgia, although research has suggested it could be a relatively common condition.

Some estimates suggest nearly 1 in 20 people may be affected by fibromyalgia to some degree.

One of the main reasons it’s not clear how many people are affected is because fibromyalgia can be a difficult condition to diagnose.

There’s no specific test for the condition, and the symptoms can be similar to a number of other conditions.

How fibromyalgia is treated

Although there’s currently no cure for fibromyalgia, there are treatments to help relieve some of the symptoms and make the condition easier to live with.

Treatment tends to be a combination of:

  • medication – such as antidepressants and painkillers
  • talking therapies – such as hypnosis, CBT and counselling
  • lifestyle changes – such as exercise programmes and relaxation techniques

Exercise in particular has been found to have a number of important benefits for people with fibromyalgia, including helping to reduce pain.

Some mental illnesses such as Post Traumatic Stress, Depression and Anxiety are more prone to individuals developing symptoms of Fibromyalgia and you are happy to share your experiences of how it affects you, what you’ve tried in terms of treatment and what’s worked and hasn’t worked for you and why you think that is. All this may help someone who has been newly diagnosed and is struggling.

Original source:


Study 1: Hypnosis for Fibromyalgia Management and Related Sleep Problems
Hypnosis for Management of Fibromyalgia

Results: Compared to the control, the hypnosis group reported better improvement on Patient Global Impression of Change (PGIC) (p = .001 at M3, p = .01 at M6) and a significant improvement in sleep and Cognitive Strategy Questionnaire (CSQ) dramatisation subscale (both at M6). (The PGIC uses a 7-point Likert scale that varies from 1 “very much improved” to 7 “very much worse” to quantify patient global response to treatment. The PGIC is a standard assessment in clinical trials regarding fibromyalgia.)

Notes: This randomised, controlled trial contrasted the effects of 5 not-standardised sessions of hypnosis over 2 months in 59 women with fibromyalgia who were randomly assigned to treatment (n?=?30) or a wait-list control group (n?=?29). Patients in the treated group were encouraged to practice self-hypnosis. Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ), MOS-Sleep Scale, Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory (MFI), Cognitive Strategy Questionnaire (CSQ), and Patient Global Impression of Change (PGIC) were administered at baseline, 3 months (M3), and 6 months (M6) after inclusion.

Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2013 Jan;61(1):111-23
By: P. Picard, C. Jusseaume, M. Boutet, C. Dualé, A. Mulliez, B. Aublet-Cuvellier, CHU Clermont-Ferrand, Pain Clinic, France

Study 2: Meta-Analysis/Review of Research on Hypnosis and Fibromyalgia
Efficacy of hypnosis/guided imagery in fibromyalgia syndrome – a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled trials

Results: Pain was assessed in all studies, sleep in two and fatigue and depressed mood in one study each by visual or numeric scales. Two studies reported that hypnosis was superior to controls in reducing sleep disturbances at final treatment. Two studies reported that hypnosis/guided imagery was superior to controls in reducing pain at follow-up. One study reported that hypnosis was superior to controls in reducing fatigue at final treatment and at follow-up. The researchers conclude that regular home training by audiotapes with hypnotic suggestions and guided imaginations could be useful, but that more study is needed.

Notes: The authors performed a systematic review with meta-analysis of the efficacy of hypnosis/guided imagery for fibromyalgia syndrome. Six controlled trials with 239 subjects were analysed. Four studies were conducted in Europe and one study each in USA and Mexico. Patients were recruited by registers of hospitals, referral (general practitioner, rheumatologist, departments of hospitals) and local self-help groups. Five studies were conducted in hospitals (university, district hospital) and one study in a general practitioner office.

Five studies offered hypnosis: Three studies with direct hypnosis of which one was combined with cognitive-behavioural therapy, two studies with indirect [Ericksonian] hypnosis). One study offered guided imagery. Four studies with hypnosis explicitly mentioned the use of mental images. All but one study used suggestions and/or images which were directly addressed to the pain experience. All studies used pain-related suggestions. The study with guided imagery used suggestions. Hypnosis/guided imagery were delivered in five studies as individual therapy and in one study as group therapy. Hypnosis/guided imagery were offered in five studies by face-to face (life), in one study by audiotapes. Three studies recommended daily training at home with audiotapes. The median number of sessions with a therapist was nine (range 7-12). The median of hypnosis/guided imagery delivered by a therapist was 390 (range 300-1080 min).

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2011, 12:133
By: Kathrin Bernardy, Department of Anaesthesiology, Intensive Care and Pain Therapy, Saarland University Hospital, Kirrberger Straße 100, D-66421 Homburg/Saar, Germany), Nicole Füber, Department of Differential Psychology and Psychodiagnostics, Saarland University, Im Stadwald, D-66123 Saarbrücken, Germany), Petra Klose (Department of Internal Medicine V (Integrative Medicine), University of Duisburg-Essen, Kliniken Essen-Mitte, Am Deimelsberg 34a, D-45276 Essen, Germany) and Winfried Häuser, Department of Internal Medicine I, Klinikum Saarbrücken, Winterberg 1, D-66119 Saarbrücken, Germany, Department of Psychosomatic Medicine, Technische Universität München, Ismaninger Straße 22, D-81675 München, Germany

Study 3: Hypnosis to Help Fibromyalgia Issues – Pain, Fatigue, Sleep and Global Assessment
Controlled trial of hypnotherapy in the treatment of refractory fibromyalgia.

Results: Compared with the patients in the physical therapy group, the patients in the hypnotherapy group showed a significantly better outcome with respect to their pain experience, fatigue on awakening, sleep pattern and global assessment at 12 and 24 weeks. At baseline most patients in both groups had strong feelings of somatic and psychic discomfort as measured by the Hopkins Symptom Checklist. These feelings showed a significant decrease in patients treated by hypnotherapy compared with physical therapy, but they remained abnormally strong in many cases. We conclude hypnotherapy may be useful in relieving symptoms in patients with refractory fibromyalgia.

Notes: In a controlled study, 40 patients with refractory fibromyalgia were randomly allocated to treatment with either hypnotherapy or physical therapy for 12 weeks with followup at 24 weeks.

J Rheumatol. 1991 Jan;18(1):72-5
Haanen HC, Hoenderdos HT, van Romunde LK, Hop WC, Mallee C, Terwiel JP, Hekster GB, (Department of Rheumatology, Sint Antonius Ziekenhuis, Nieuwegein, The Netherlands)

Study 4: Hypnosis When Added to Conventional Medical Treatment for Fibromyalgia
Hypnotic treatment synergizes the psychological treatment of fibromyalgia: a pilot study.

Results: The results suggest that psychological treatment produces greater symptom benefits than the conventional medical treatment only, especially when hypnosis is added. The study authors conclude that hypnosis may be a useful tool to help people with fibromyalgia manage their symptomatology.

Notes: This pilot study compared the efficacy for fibromyalgia of multimodal cognitive behavioural treatments, with and without hypnosis, with that of a purely pharmacological approach, with a multiple baseline N = 1 design. Six hospital patients were randomly assigned to the three experimental conditions.

The American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis (impact factor: 0.53). 04/2008; 50(4):311-21
By: Consuelo Martínez-Valero, Antonio Castel, Antonio Capafons, José Sala, Begoña Espejo, Etzel Cardeña, Centro de Aplicaciones Psicológicas, Valencia, Spain

Study 5: Hypnosis to Control Fibromyalgia Pain
Fibromyalgia pain and its modulation by hypnotic and non-hypnotic suggestion: An fMRI analysis

Results: Patients claimed significantly more control over their pain and reported greater pain reduction when hypnotised. Activation of the midbrain, cerebellum, thalamus, and mid-cingulate, primary and secondary sensory, inferior parietal, insula and prefrontal cortices correlated with reported changes in pain with hypnotic and non-hypnotic suggestion. These activations were of greater magnitude, however, when suggestions followed a hypnotic induction in the cerebellum, anterior mid-cingulate cortex, anterior and posterior insula and the inferior parietal cortex. Our results thus provide evidence for the greater efficacy of suggestion following a hypnotic induction. Pain relief was significantly greater when suggestion followed a hypnotic induction.

Notes: Suggestion following a hypnotic induction can readily modulate the subjective experience of pain. It is unclear whether suggestion without hypnosis is equally effective. To explore these and related questions, suggestions following a hypnotic induction and the same suggestions without a hypnotic induction were used during functional magnetic resonance imaging to increase and decrease the subjective experience of fibromyalgia pain. The patients were informed that hypnotic suggestions would be given to allow the dial to move up and down, producing a concomitant change in their fibromyalgia pain sensation. They were then hypnotised individually using an induction described in detail elsewhere (Whalley and Oakley, 2003). Following the hypnotic induction, patients were asked to bring the dial to mind and to notify the experimenter of its current position. Suggestions were given for the dial and the corresponding fibromyalgia pain sensation to be turned up as high as the patient could allow it to go, dial ratings were then recorded. Suggestions were then given to turn the dial down as low as possible and dial ratings were again recorded.

European Journal of Pain 13 (2009) 542–550
By: Stuart W.G. Derbyshire, Matthew G. Whalley, David A. Oakley, School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK Department of Psychology, Hypnosis Unit, University College London


As there has been a lot of work, conversations, research and thought gone into the free helpline that we set up in January, and with our efforts to reform the military charities sector and close the excessively large gaps in the system, I thought an update was in order to let everyone know  what’s going on.

I had a great conversation with Lord Dannatt last month and he is in full agreement with our purpose in setting up the free helpline (which has morphed into a treatment line, more on that shortly) and what we are doing and has kindly given his full support and backing ongoing.

Meanwhile my friend and colleague David Bellamy has been communicating with General Peter Currie, General Andrew Graham, General Sir John McColl, chariman of COBSEO and Colonel David Richmond, chairman of the Contact Group set up by Prince Harry, they too are in agreement that the militray charities sector needs shaking up, tightening up and reforming which is now beginning to happen.

David Bellamy is an extraordinary man with one hell of a life behind him. He was in the British Army and served in Dhofar in the 70’s during the Secret War. He has worked as a commercial diver, worked for Lloyds of London and was instrumental in setting up their first Kidnap and ransom insurance package. David, like myself was trained by Stephen Brooks, the founder of British Hypnosis Research and Training Institute and is the worlds best teacher of Ericksonian Hypnosis and Psychotherapy.

It has lead to a slight adjustment in our plan and the development of a name for this not for profit organisation we have created. So we are now called ICARUS, which stands for Immediate Care, Assessment and Rehabilitaion for Uniformed Services, which means we cover all branches of the military and emergency services because there are many veterans working in the civilian uniformed services that deal with horrendous situations on a regular basis and also may well need our help.

The history behind ICARUS is the ancient Greek story of Icarus and his father Daedalus who told his son not to fly too close to the sun with his homemade wings of feathers and wax as the heat from the sun would melt the wax and he would fall into the sea and drown. So the story is about high flying ambition, which is what we have for the accessibility of the best treatment for all uniformed services and veterans. The psychological element of it, the Icarus Complex, which is about the highs and lows of what used to be called Manic Depression and is now Bipolar Disorder, our aim is to help anyone in the uniformed services with a mental illness to learn to deal with it and live a full, happy and successful life for them.

Screenshot 2018-03-02 15.32.53

We wanted to be a not for profit becasue there are already 350 plus military charities in a system that is unregulated, poorly structured at present, and with no standards required to be fulfilled and is in desperate need of an overhaul. This is by no means meant to undermine the extraordinary and excellent work being done by so many in this sector, purely that it can be tightened up and improved so that people do not fall through the net, are not turned away or dropped because they are unable to commit to systems that are far too rigid for people with mental illness. And yes this does happen because these are precisely the people I have been treating for over ten years now.

The helpline is now a treatment line to fit with our new name and purpose, although we will provide any help we can in the process. We offer virtual treatment via phone, skype or any other form of video call to speed up access to help, as well as face to face treatment where possible. We are currently working on building a national network of therapists to assist us so if you are interested in getting involved or know someone who might be then please get in touch with me on simon@simonmaryan.com 

Access to our services is open to anyone. In principle, no one will be refused. There will be no discrimination on grounds of length of service, reason for discharge, medical condition or disability, age, physical disability, gender, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, political or other opinion. This is a free service open to all service personnel as set out in our constitution which you can find below.

ICARUS Constitution 28.02.18

The phone number stays the same 0800 689 0864

We are also having a website designed that will list all our therapists, each with a personal bio explaining what they do and how they work. All our therapists will be associates, they will be vetted and cleared by us to ensure that they have the appropriate insurance etc for the therapies they provide. The website is being designed by David Bellamy’s wife Mishi who is an amazing artist, so we are extremely fortunate to have this wonderful lady helping us out. Take a look at her fantastic work here: https://www.mishibellamy.net

We also have a gentleman called Stephen Finlayson who is coming on board to help us promote our services, reach more people and deliver what is needed to those that need. Stephen showed his huge heart and compassion a few years ago when he helped a homeless guy in his hometown of Carlisle, this man, Phil,  turned out to be a veteran as well and Stephen helped him find somewhere to stay, put him in touch with the Royal British Legion and thankfully he is back on his feet, has a home, a job and a girflriend. Phil now helps veterans and is paying back in his own way. This story was covered in a documentary by the BBC and is quite emotional viewing.

Thanks to David Bellamy, we have one very interested coroporate sponsor who is keen to help us deliver our services and we are obviously looking for more to make sure that this not for profit can provide as much assisstance to those serving and veterans struggling with any form of mental illness, to live their lives to their fullest and be happy, functional and succeed. Another part of what we provide is ongoing coaching and mentoring for those that receive treatment from us for as long as they need, and also training those that are interested in becoming a qualified therapist, coach and mentor so that they are then capable of helping others that are in the same situation they used to be in.

If you are interested in helping us with sponsorship, donations or have any suggestions about people, organisations to speak to then please get in touch either through the phone number 0800 689 0864 or by email simon@simonmaryan.com

We are also approaching a few universities with the aim of having our program of treatment as a whole, independently monitored and assessed in order to garner external verification that what we do works. We know it does yet it is hugely beneficial to have that independant review and reassuring for those we help.

So lots has been done, lots is happening and lots still to do. Keep your eyes peeled for more updates as we make more and more progress.

Please like, share and comment with your thoughts and any ideas you have for us.




The Importance of Accurate Diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress.

As a specialist in trauma and Post Traumatic Stress, I read and research constantly for new information and treatment options in order to provide the best possible options for each person I have the fortune of working with.
The difficulty can be is that most individuals with PTSD suffer from other mental disorders as well. Studies of the prevalence of PTSD in large samples have found the following mental disorders are most likely to be co-morbid with PTSD:
  • Major Depression
  • Substance Use Disorders
  • Dysthymia – persistent mild depression
  • Agoraphobia
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Generalised Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
  • Somatisation Disorder – extreme anxiety about physical symptoms such as pain or fatigue
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Adjustment Disorder
  • Phobias
It can be challenging to determine whether overlapping symptoms are best conceptualised as being a part of the PTSD constellation of symptoms or whether they should be attributed to another disorder. Differential diagnosis can be especially difficult when disorders other than PTSD are preceded by exposure to traumatic stress.
Despite some symptom overlap between PTSD and other disorders, PTSD has a number of unique features that distinguish it from other disorders. DSM-5 provides specific differential diagnosis guidelines in order to help clinicians assign the most appropriate diagnoses. I know there is much controversy over the DSM, however it is useful to have some form of benchmark to work from.
The following elements are useful in distinguishing symptoms of PTSD from symptoms of other disorders:
  • PTSD symptoms start or get worse after exposure to a traumatic event.
  • Stimuli reminiscent of traumatic events that activate PTSD symptoms are often pervasive and wide ranging, as opposed to singular or highly specific as in the case of phobias.
Disorders other than PTSD may be caused, in part, by exposure to traumatic stress. Although stressor exposure is part of the PTSD diagnostic criteria, PTSD is by no means the only mental disorder that may develop in the wake of trauma exposure. Examples of disorders that may develop after or be exacerbated by trauma exposure include adjustment disorder and phobias. Other highly prevalent disorders, such as depression and panic disorder, may also be potentiated by a traumatic stressor.
It is important to look at the guidelines for making a differential diagnosis of PTSD versus other conditions that are commonly associated with traumatic stress exposure. PTSD can be distinguished from these disorders by its defining symptom criteria (i.e., to meet criteria for PTSD, individuals must demonstrate a symptom profile that is consistent with the guidelines for PTSD). Additionally, exposure to traumatic stress is a requirement for a diagnosis of PTSD; in contrast, for disorders such as depression, panic disorder and phobias, although symptoms may be associated with a traumatic event, this is not a requirement.
This is why it is important to gather information from varying sources using a variety of methods in order to ensure an accurate diagnosis which will enable the best possible treatment for all symptoms for each individual.

Forces & Veterans Mental Health Helpline

It’s been a busy time since before Christmas in my house with a trip to New York to speak for the NYPD Hostage Negotiation Unit and the New York Association of Hostage Negotiators and the FBI/NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force. This month I’m speaking as part of the Seton Hall School of Law in Newark’s Spring 18 Crisis Negotiation Course, to talk about hostage survival.

We also sold our house and found a new one just before I left for New York, so straight after Christmas and New Year, it was all hands on deck to pack up the house ready to move on the 19th January so it’s been a tad crazy, to say the least.

In amongst all this, I have been discussing, planning and beginning the creation of two new initiatives with a very good friend of mine and fellow psychotherapist and hypnotherapist, David Bellamy, read all about his work here: www.davidbellamy.org

Through David, we have connected with three former Generals; Peter Currie, John McColl, and Andrew Graham. We also have onboard former Colonel David Richmond CBE who is about to finish working as Recovery Director at Help 4 Heroes and chairman of the Contact Group.

The first initiative is to update the working structure of the military charity sector. At present it is unregulated, there are no minimum standards of operation required for start-up and ongoing and this has lead to many people being neglected, ignored and falling by the wayside. Over the last ten years, these are the people I have treated for PTSD and all it’s associated conditions and this working group that has come together is in complete agreement that things must change. The irony is that the system is not failing people because of a lack of funding, it is failing them because there is far too much bureaucracy, red tape, and BS.

I am not by any means saying that it’s all bad, there are some great people doing great work for many people, however, as with any system there is always room for improvement and it is now time to implement changes that mean more people can benefit from those positive changes.

Some of the changes being discussed are:

  • a national standard on military charities that require them to furnish proof of certain minimum standards and accessibility in return for which they become approved on a national list.
  • sharing of resources, information, and learning because at present this does not happen. There are 350+ military charities and mostly working in isolation which is crazy considering what could be achieved with total collaboration and cooperation. This would entail national sharing of resources, treatment, response and technical ability.
  • run both initiatives as a not-for-profit organisation

The second initiative which has been easier to get going is a national free phone number for serving and veterans to access advice, help, and guidance on mental health issues.  Ironically, while I was looking into setting something like this up, Lord Dannatt wrote an article in the Daily Mail on 14th January, you can read the full article here, Lord Dannatt’s article in the Daily Mail

In the article, he states that the government had declined the option to set up a 24/7 mental health helpline for serving personnel because it would not be cost-effective. The outcome of their assessment of needs concluded that it would require 40 therapists, cost £2m and attract less than 50 calls per year. This does not make sense because if they needed 40 therapists then they would be expecting far more than 50 calls a year surely?

My own research into costs showed that it is cheap to get started and can be increased as demand requires, so we have set up a freephone number 0800 6890864 for all serving and veterans to call should they have mental health concerns for themselves or someone they know. The company we chose to provide the phone service has given us 90 days free trial and then its £24.99 +VAT per month, we have two therapists available at present and we are building a list of volunteers to help as demand grows. So the cost is far from prohibitive as the government suggested.

Our aim for this is to provide unbiased, impartial, confidential, free advice, guidance and help for people serving in the British Armed Forces and veterans with mental health issues. We no longer want people to feel ashamed, afraid, embarrassed about asking for help, and as we are not connected with the MoD or government in any way we offer complete confidentiality. A large part of what we aim to achieve is to create a network of charities and organisations that we can steer people towards to access the specialist help they need that’s local to them. We also provide counseling, therapy, and coaching as part of our service.

I emailed Lord Dannatt and through his PA I now have a telephone conversation booked for Monday 12th February to discuss what we have done so far, what our future plans are and take advice and guidance from Lord Dannatt to ensure that we at least match his expectations of this sort of service.

I have also been in touch with ITV’s This Morning and my email is with the planning team who do the scheduling so I am keeping my fingers crossed. On top of this, a new friend Stephen Finlayson is helping by speaking to his connections at the BBC who he dealt with for a programme about him from a couple of years ago and also introducing me to people he knows at the CTP, (Careers Transition Partnership) who organise resettlement for people leaving the forces.

We are looking for funding and support across the board, so if you have any ideas or would like to help us in any way then please get in touch via my email simon@simonmaryan.com or via the facebook page which is Forces & Veterans Mental Health Helpline Facebook Page 

Please share this with your friends, family, colleagues etc and help us to spread the word about the service we offer and what we are striving to achieve.

Here’s to a very successful 2018 for all of us.


Mind-Matters Series Video#9: Why Do We Limit Ourselves?

It’s a strange thing about human beings, we are often our own worst enemy because of how and what we think. We deny ourselves the opportunity to improve and grow purely because we limit ourselves through a lack of self-belief, lack of confidence and all because we think we can’t do it, can’t have it, can’t be it, don’t deserve it. These thoughts come about through conditioning from other people as well as our own homegrown rhetoric and are often developed through a lack of focus and understanding of what it is we actually want for ourselves.

This lack of awareness and focus can be hugely detrimental to our lives in terms of achieving what we want, yet it can take just a few minutes a day of learning to focus our minds, clearing the crap (thoughts and behaviours) and setting it on the right path at the beginning of each day enables you to become aware of what does make you happy, what really flicks your switch and then you can start to take action and make changes in your life and design the one YOU want and not one that others want for you.

I hope this video gives you food for thought and is a starting point and/or a catalyst for you to start from.

As always I’m here for guidance.


Mind-Matters Series Video#8: Get Shit Done



If your head has ever felt like it is full of too much shit and you can’t think straight, can’t make a decision, can’t get motivated to do what you want and/or need to do and you find yourself procrastinating.

Well, here is a short video explaining why we procrastinate and what we can do to change those negative habits of creating excuses not to do what we want or need to do. Below is a link to my Goal Setting pdf that is yours to download for free and while you’re there take a look at the other downloads available there for free too.



Mind-Matters Series Video #7: Mental Stretch

This is a really simple visualisation exercise that connects mind and body.

Stand up and point your arm straight out in front of you. Now keeping your feet and hips still, rotate your upper body until you can’t go any further and note how far you got.

Now return to your starting position and close your eyes. Imagine doing it it again but imagine turning further and in your mind keep turning until you have rotated a full 360 degrees. Then unwind back round to your star position and repeat this 5 times.

Now open your eyes and do it once again physically and notice how much further you can go. I am certain that you will find that you can rotate much further round Now after visualising yourself doing just that.

How many other ways do you think you can apply this type of visualisation and benefit from it? Let me know how yup this kid you can use it and adapt it for yourself.


Mind-Body Matters Series #6: Full Body Scan

This a wonderfully simple and effective exercise that really connects mind and body.

Remember to begin with at least 3 big, deep breaths and use this deep breathing as you visualise breathing out through those areas of tension and discomfort and melting them away.

Make a note of the areas of the deepest tension and discomfort and then once you have completed one full scan, go back and pay special attention to the areas of tension you need to focus on the most. Keep repeating this process until you have eased all the areas of tension and discomfort and feel relaxed and at ease.

You will find that through the deep breathing, the visualisations and the easing of tension you will strengthen your mind-body connection, awareness and communication and feel so much better for it.

I recommend doing this at least twice a day, once first thing in the morning before you go to work and once before you get home at the end of each day.

Have fun exploring with this exercise and as always let me know how you get on.


Hypnosis for Common Medical Issues


I have been researching and reading through a plethora of websites, articles, journals and papers looking for studies and research into the use of hypnosis for common medical issues, because despite hypnosis becoming more popular as a treatment methodology, there are still many misconceptions as to its efficacy. Thankfully more and more studies show that hypnosis helps patients with many common medical problems, and interest in hypnotherapy for medical issues is greater than ever before.

The use of hypnosis for medical issues is not exactly new. Back in 1958, the American Medical Association (AMA) recognised that hypnosis is a useful technique in the treatment of certain illnesses and a valid medical procedure.[1] In fact, the Wall Street Journal reported in 2003 that hypnosis “is increasingly being employed in mainstream medicine”[2] and in 2012 that “scientific evidence is mounting that hypnosis can be effective in a variety of medical situations.”[3]

A 2016 study done by researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine confirms that hypnosis is indeed a real thing. The study was conducted with functional magnetic resonance imaging, a scanning method that measures blood flow in the brain. It found changes in activity in brain areas of hypnotized persons that are thought to be involved in focused attention, the monitoring and control of the body’s functioning, and the awareness and evaluation of a person’s internal and external environments.[4]
Yet, hypnosis is still underutilized for medical issues. In 2016, Pierre-Yves Rodondi, a doctor at the University Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine at the Lausanne University Hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland, said: “If hypnosis were a medication it would already be in all hospitals, but it is an approach, and thus it must overcome cultural barriers.”[5]

Originating source:

Compiled and written for the American Hypnosis Association by Bruce Bonnett:

  • Senior Staff Instructor at HMI College of Hypnotherapy



  1. University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) > What is Hypnotherapy?
  2. Altered States: Hypnosis In Mainstream Medicine
  3. Medical Hypnosis: You Are Getting Very Healthy
  4. Study Identifies Brain Areas Altered During Hypnotic Trances and
  5. Is Hypnosis All in Your Head? Brain Scans Suggest Otherwise
  6. Impact Journalism Day: Healing Powers of Hypnosis Promoted by Swiss and
  7. Switzerland Hospital Promotes the Healing Powers of Hypnosis

Most Common Issues

Here are brief descriptions of just some of the top studies done at universities and hospitals that show how hypnosis helps with some of the most common issues that hypnotherapists address. (See References if you are interested in more details about any of these studies).

1: Smoking Cessation

In 2007, researchers from North Shore Medical Center in Salem, Massachusetts compared 67 people who wanted to quit smoking and were divided into 4 groups based on their method of smoking cessation treatment: (a) hypnotherapy; (b) nicotine replacement therapy; (c) nicotine replacement therapy plus hypnotherapy; and (d) quitting “cold turkey.” They concluded that a person may be more likely to quit smoking through the use of hypnotherapy than by using other smoking cessation methods. This study shows that smokers who participated in one hypnotherapy session were more likely to be nonsmokers after 6 months compared with patients using nicotine replacement therapy alone or patients who quit “cold turkey.”[1]
In 1992, researchers from the University of Iowa statistically analyzed the results of 633 smoking cessation studies involving 71,806 participants. They concluded that hypnosis was the most effective technique used to quit smoking. In fact, they found that a single session of hypnosis is three times more effective than nicotine gum and five times more effective than willpower alone.[2]

In 2004, researchers from Texas A&M University’s Health Science Center studied 21 smokers who had failed in previous unassisted attempts to stop smoking. The participants were given three hypnosis sessions and also a tape recording with a hypnotic induction they could use on their own time. At the end of the program, 17 subjects (81%) reported that they had stopped smoking. A 12-month follow-up revealed that 10 of them (48%) remained smoke-free.[3]

In 2015, researchers from the Faculty of Nursing at the Beni-Suef University in Egypt studied 59 male secondary school students who were smokers. These subjects were taught self-hypnosis for the purpose of quitting smoking. After nine weeks of doing the self-hypnosis, 65.4% of those studied had stopped smoking.[4]

1.1. Hypnotherapy For Smoking Cessation Sees Strong Results

Results: Hospitalised patients who smoke may be more likely to quit smoking through the use of hypnotherapy than patients using other smoking cessation methods. This study shows that smoking patients who participated in one hypnotherapy session were more likely to be nonsmokers at 6 months compared with patients using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) alone or patients who quit “cold turkey.”

Notes: This study compared the quit rates of 67 smoking patients hospitalized with a cardiopulmonary diagnosis. All patients were approached about smoking cessation and all included in the study were patients who expressed a desire to quit smoking. At discharge, patients were divided into four groups based on their preferred method of smoking cessation treatment: hypnotherapy (n=14), NRT (n=19), NRT and hypnotherapy (n=18), and a group of controls who preferred to quit “cold turkey” (n=16). All patients received self-help brochures. The control group received brief counseling, but other groups received intensive counseling, free supply of NRT and/or a free hypnotherapy session within 7 days of discharge, as well as follow up telephone calls at 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, and 26 weeks after discharge. Patients receiving hypnotherapy also were taught to do self-hypnosis and were given tapes to play at the end of the session.

At 26 weeks after discharge, 50 percent of patients treated with hypnotherapy alone were nonsmokers, compared with 50 percent in the NRT/hypnotherapy group, 25 percent in the control group, and 15.78 percent in the NRT group. Patients admitted with a cardiac diagnosis were more likely to quit smoking at 26 weeks (45.5 percent) than patients admitted with a pulmonary diagnosis (15.63 percent).

The researchers note that hospitalisation is an important opportunity to intervene among patients who smoke.

This study as presented at Chest 2007, the 73rd annual international scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians Oct. 24, 2007 By: Faysal Hasan, MD, FCCP, North Shore Medical Center, Salem, MA Dr. Hasan and colleagues from North Shore Medical Center and Massachusetts General Hospital

1.2. Smoking Cessation A Meta-Analytic Comparison of the Effectiveness of Smoking Cessation Methods

Results: They found that among of all of the techniques used, hypnosis was the most effective. They found that a single session of hypnosis was three times more effective than the nicotine gum and five times more effective then willpower alone (willpower was 6%; nicotine gum was 10% and a single hypnosis session was 30%).

Notes: The Institute of Actuaries (in the US) commissioned the largest study ever done on smoking cessation. It statistically analyzed the results of 633 smoking cessation studies involving 71,806 participants.
Journal of Applied Psychology. Vol 77(4), Aug 1992, 554-561
By: C. Viswesvaran, F. L. Schmidt, Department of Management and Organizations, University of Iowa, Iowa City 52242

1.3. Clinical Hypnosis for Smoking Cessation: Preliminary Results of a Three-Session Intervention

Results: At the end of the program 17 subjects (81%) reported that they had stopped smoking. A 12-month follow-up revealed that 10 of them (48%) remained smoke-free.

Notes: Twenty-one smokers who were referred to this study by their physicians for medical reasons, received three smoking cessation hypnosis sessions. All patients reported having failed in previous unassisted attempts to stop smoking. The clinical-treatment protocol included three sessions. The first session was the initial consultation and did not include a hypnotic induction. Sessions 2 and 3 involved individually adapted hypnotic suggestions and an individual therapeutic relationship with each patient. Each patient was also provided with a cassette tape recording of a hypnotic induction with direct suggestions for relaxation and a feeling of comfort. The patients were seen biweekly for treatment.

Hypnotic Suggestions: Absorption in relaxing imagery, a commitment to stop smoking, decreased craving for nicotine, posthypnotic suggestions, practice of self-hypnosis, and to visualize the positive benefits of smoking cessation. The induction was standardized, but the specific imagery for relaxation and the positive benefits for smoking cessation were individualized based upon the patient’s preference regarding such imagery.

Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2004 , Jan;52(1):73-81

By: G. R. Elkins, M. H. Rajab, Texas A&M University’s Health Science Center

1.4. Effect of Hypnotherapy on Smoking Cessation Among Secondary School Students (2015)

Background: Hypnotherapy is widely promoted as a method for aiding smoking cessation. It is proposed to act on underlying impulses to weaken the desire to smoke or strengthen the will to stop. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of hypnotherapy on smoking cessation among secondary school students.

Method: A random sample of 59 male smokers was selected from two governmental secondary schools. Design: A quasi- experimental design was used. Tools: Data were collected using; A- an Interview Questionnaire included; I- smoking assessment tool to determine the smoking rate among males students. II-Characteristics of studied students regarding smoking pattern. III- Smoking Cessation Questionnaire. B- Wisconsin smoking withdrawal scale. The hypnotherapy was implemented after assessing the rate of male smokers, the researchers trained the students in practicing self hypnosis, and asked them to practice it at home and to document the frequency of daily smoked packs for nine weeks.

Results: The present study findings indicated that the rate of male smokers among secondary school students in Beni-Suef city was 52.4%, about two third of studied students (65.4%) stopped smoking after nine weeks of practicing hypnosis and the percentage of smoked packs of cigarettes/ day decreased after implementing the program.

Conclusion: The present study findings showed that hypnotherapy has a therapeutic effectiveness in achieving a high rate of smoking cessation among secondary school students. There was a highly significant difference in total score of smoking withdrawal index before and after intervention. Recommendation: Community and school education programs should include sessions on quitting smoking, implementing school-based interventions in combination with anti-tobacco mass media campaigns.

2. Weight Loss

In 1986, researchers from the University of British Columbia studied 60 overweight women, which were divided into a group who received hypnosis and another group who did not receive hypnosis. They found that those women who received hypnosis lost an average of 17 pounds while the women who did not receive hypnosis lost an average of 0.5 pounds.[1]

In 1985, researchers from the University of Northern Colorado Department of Psychology studied 109 subjects. All were given behavioural management to lose weight, but only half were also given hypnosis. Both groups had lost a significant amount of weight at the end of the 9-week program. When followed-up at 8 months and 2 years, the group that also received hypnosis had lost even more weight, while the group that had not received hypnosis remained unchanged.[2]

In 1996, researchers from the University of Connecticut Department of Psychology analyzed the data from a number of studies that tested the effectiveness of adding hypnosis to cognitive behavioral therapy (“CBT”) for weight loss. They concluded that people who received hypnosis in addition to CBT lost more weight (a mean weight loss of 11.83 pounds compared to 6 pounds). They also found that those who used hypnosis continued to lose weight over time (up to 14.88 pounds) while those not using hypnosis remained at just a 6 pound loss over time.[3]

2.1. Hypnotherapy in Weight Loss Treatment

Results: This study found that those who received hypnosis lost an average of 17 (seventeen) lbs compared to an average of 0.5 lbs in the control group (there was no difference between the hypnosis only and the hypnosis and audiotapes group).

Notes: This study examined how effective hypnosis was in helping women to lose weight. It recruited 60 women who were not dieting or involved in any other program and who were at least 20% overweight. It randomly assigned the women to a control group, to a group that only received hypnosis and to a group that received hypnosis along with audiotapes.

Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Vol 54(4), Aug 1986, 489-492
By: G. Cochrane, J. Friesen, University of British Columbia
Noha Ahmed Mohamed, Seham Mohamed ElMwafie

2.2. Effectiveness of Hypnosis as an Adjunct to Behavioral Weight Management

Results: When followed-up at 8 months and 2 years, the group that also received hypnosis had lost even more weight, while the group that had not, remained unchanged.

Notes: This study examined the effectiveness of adding hypnosis to a behavioural management program to help people lose weight. It recruited 109 subjects and randomly split them into two groups, one which received only behavioural management and the other which received behavioural management plus hypnosis. Both groups had lost a significant amount of weight at the end of the 9-week program.

J Clin Psychol. 1985 Jan;41(1):35-41
By: D. N. Bolocofsky, D. Spinler, L. Coulthard-Morris, Department of Psychology, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, Colorado 80639

2.3. Hypnotic Enhancement of Cognitive-Behavioral Weight Loss Treatments: Another Meta-Reanalysis

Results: This study analyzed the data for a number of studies that examined the effectiveness of combining hypnosis with cognitive behavioural therapy for weight loss. It found that those who received CBT only had a mean weight loss of 6 lbs, while those who received both hypnosis and CBT had a mean weight loss of 11.83 lbs. It further found that the difference between these two groups increased over time (to 6.33 lbs versus 14.88 lbs).

Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 64 (3), 517-519, 1996
By: I. Kirsch, Department of Psychology, University of Connecticut, Storrs 06269-1020, USA

3. Sleep Issues

In 1979, researchers from Guy’s Hospital Medical School in London studied 18 patients who had suffered from insomnia for at least 3 months. They concluded that patients slept significantly longer with hypnosis alone than when they received a placebo. Also, significantly more patients had a normal night’s sleep when using self-hypnosis alone than when they received a placebo or Mogadon/Nitrazepam – a benzodiazepine drug.[1]

In 1989, a Ph.D. from the University of Tasmania, Australia studied 45 subjects randomly assigned to one of three groups: hypnotic relaxation; stimulus control; and placebo. The data generated by the study suggested that only hypnosis was effective in helping the subjects go to sleep more quickly.[2]

In 2006, researchers from the State University of New York Upstate Medical University studied 84 children and adolescents with sleep issues (such as insomnia, a delay in sleep onset, nighttime awakenings, and issues like pain that impedes sleep) who did hypnosis sessions and were taught self-hypnosis. 87% of the children reported that hypnosis had helped them either significantly improve or completely resolve their sleep problems.[3]

3.1. Insomnia and Hypnotherapy

Results: Patients slept significantly longer with hypnosis alone than when they received a placebo. Significantly more patients had a normal night’s sleep when on autohypnosis alone than when they received a placebo or Mogadon/Nitrazepam – a benzodiazepine drug. There was a tendency for autohypnosis to reduce the time taken to go to sleep.

Notes: 18 patients were between 29 and 60 years old and had suffered from insomnia for at least 3 months prior to the study. Patients were issued diary cards and every morning they classified their sleep based on: average time to go to sleep, average sleep duration, quality of sleep, and waking state (bright, average or tired). Hypnosis techniques included a simple prolonged relaxation technique, guided imagery so the patient pictured himself in a warm safe place (possibly on vacation), and imagining the patient was in a warm, dark room, feeling at ease and comfortable. Self-hypnosis was taught and patients were told they could give themselves suggestions that would lead to a deep, refreshing sleep, waking up at their usual time in the morning, feeling wide awake.

Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine Volume 72 October 1979.
By: Professor J. A. D. Anderson, E. R. Dalton BSC DipMathStats, Department of Community Medicine, Guy’s Hospital Medical School, London SEL 9RT
M. A. Basker MRCS MRCGP, 95 The Ridgeway, Westcliffon Sea, Essex SSO 8PX

3.2. Hypnotic Relaxation and the Reduction of Sleep Onset Insomnia

Results: Data generated by the study suggested that the particular hypnotic relaxation treatment used was effective in helping subjects go to sleep more quickly. Neither stimulus control nor placebo groups recorded similar improvement.

Notes: A hypnotic relaxation technique was compared to stimulus control and placebo conditions as a means of reducing sleep onset latency (SOL). Forty-five subjects were matched on their baseline SOL as measured through sleep diaries. They were randomly assigned to one of three groups: hypnotic relaxation; stimulus control; and placebo. These groups experienced four weekly sessions of 30-minutes duration with demand effects being controlled through the use of counter-demand instructions.

Int J Psychosom. 1989;36(1-4):64-8
By: Harry E. Stanton, Ph.D., University of Tasmania, Australia

3.3. Hypnosis for Treatment of Insomnia in School-Age Children: A Retrospective Chart Review

Results: By the end of the study 87% of the children reported that hypnosis had helped them either significantly improve or completely resolve their sleep problems. Insomnia was resolved in the majority of the children after one or two hypnosis instruction sessions. Of the 70 patients reporting a delay in sleep onset of more than 30 minutes, 90% reported a reduction in sleep onset time following hypnosis. Of the 21 patients reporting nighttime awakenings more than once a week, 52% reported resolution of the awakenings after hypnosis and 38% reported improvement after hypnosis. 87% of those who had body issues impeding sleep – such as chest pain, habit cough, and headaches – reported improvement or resolution of those issues following hypnosis. Instruction in self-hypnosis appears to help resolve insomnia in children as young as 7 years old.

Notes: A retrospective chart review was performed for 84 children and adolescents with insomnia at SUNY Upstate Medical University Pediatric Pulmonary Center between 1998 and 2005. Patients were offered instruction in self-hypnosis and returned for follow-up after one or more hypnosis sessions. Mean age was 12 years old. The average duration of insomnia prior to hypnosis was 3 years. Information was obtained from the children’s self reports before and after hypnosis. Sessions included demonstration of 2 or 3 self-hypnosis induction techniques, employment of a favorite place imagery and progressive relaxation while in hypnosis to achieve relaxation, and development of imagery intended to resolve the insomnia. If insomnia did not resolve after the first session, patients were offered a second session during which they were taught how to use hypnosis in order to gain insight into potential stressors – including dream analysis.

BMC Pediatrics. 2006, Vol. 6 (23). Published Aug. 16, 2006
By: Ran D. Anbar and Molly P. Slothower, Dept. of Pediatrics, University Hospital, State University of New York Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY


4. Stress

In 2013, researchers from the Department of Psychology at Lund University in Sweden studied the effect of participants’ use of hypnosis for two weeks (via audio recording). They found the hypnotic intervention had a medium-to-large beneficial effect on the participants’ experience of stress, burnout and wellbeing.[1]

In 2013, researchers from the University of Delhi studied 7 college students pursuing a Ph.D. The study showed that hypnotherapy is an effective intervention strategy to help patients diagnosed with anxiety symptoms.[2]
In 2006, researchers from Yale University School of Medicine studied the stress and anxiety of 76 patients before and after surgery. The 26 patients who received hypnosis were significantly less anxious post-intervention. Moreover, on entrance to the operating rooms, the hypnosis group reported a significant decrease of 56% in their anxiety level. The study authors conclude that hypnosis significantly alleviates preoperative anxiety.[3]

In 1991, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee studied 44 introductory psychology who were given 4 sessions of hypnosis for exam stress compared to 50 similar students who did not receive any hypnosis. Those student who received hypnosis showed a decrease in exam anxiety as well as improvements in test achievement.[4]

In 1994, researchers from the University of Tasmania studied 40 music students who experience considerable anxiety when they perform. Results indicate that hypnotherapy is likely to assist musicians in the reduction of their stage fright.[5]

In 1989, researchers studied 56 medical students. Those students who received 9 hypnosis sessions improved significantly in coping with exam stress.[6]

4.1. Hypnotic Tape Intervention Ameliorates Stress: A Randomized Control Study

Results: The results show that, as compared with baseline and wait-list conditions, the hypnotic intervention had a medium-to-large beneficial effect on participants’ experience of stress, burnout, and well-being. Some participants also decreased their use of the coping strategy escape-avoidance post intervention.

Notes: This study (N?=?35) used a randomized control design, and participants were collected from a variety of groups. After evaluating their degree of stress and burnout, coping styles, general well-being, and hypnotizability, participants were matched by stress level and randomly assigned to an intervention or wait-list group. The intervention comprised an audio recording of a hypnotic induction accompanied by suggestions for progressive relaxation, imagery, and anchoring to be used for 2 weeks.

Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2013 Apr;61(2):125-45
By: E. Cardeña, C. Svensson, F. Hejdström, Department of Psychology, Center for Research on Consciousness and Anomalous Psychology, Lund University, P.O. Box 213 SE-221 00, Lund, Sweden
“Effect of Clinical Hypnotherapy on Anxiety Symptoms”, Delhi Psychiatry Journal Vol. 16, No. 1, April 2013

4.2. Effect of Clinical Hypnotherapy on Anxiety Symptoms

Results: Patients in the hypnosis group were significantly less anxious postintervention as compared with patients in the attention-control group and the control group. Moreover, on entrance to the operating rooms, the hypnosis group reported a significant decrease of 56% in their anxiety level whereas the attention-control group reported an increase of 10% in anxiety and the control group reported an increase of 47% in their anxiety. The study authors conclude that hypnosis significantly alleviates preoperative anxiety.

Notes: This study examined the effect of hypnosis on preoperative anxiety. Subjects were randomized into 3 groups, a hypnosis group (n 26) who received suggestions of well-being; an attention-control group (n26) who received attentive listening and support without any specific hypnotic suggestions and a “standard of care” control group (n 24). Anxiety was measured pre- and postintervention as well as on entrance to the operating rooms.

Anesth Analg, 2006, Vol. 102, No 5, pp. 1394-1396

4.3. Hypnosis Reduces Preoperative Anxiety in Adult Patients

Results: Patients in the hypnosis group were significantly less anxious post intervention as compared with patients in the attention-control group and the control group. Moreover, on entrance to the operating rooms, the hypnosis group reported a significant decrease of 56% in their anxiety level whereas the attention-control group reported an increase of 10% in anxiety and the control group reported an increase of 47% in their anxiety. The study authors conclude that hypnosis significantly alleviates preoperative anxiety.

Notes: This study examined the effect of hypnosis on preoperative anxiety. Subjects were randomized into 3 groups, a hypnosis group (n 26) who received suggestions of well-being; an attention-control group (n26) who received attentive listening and support without any specific hypnotic suggestions and a “standard of care” control group (n 24). Anxiety was measured pre- and post intervention as well as on entrance to the operating rooms.

Anesth Analg, 2006, Vol. 102, No 5, pp. 1394-1396
By: H. Saadat, J. Drummond-Lewis, I. Maranets, D. Kaplan, A. Saadat, S. M. Wang, Z. N. Kain, Center for the Advancement of Perioperative Health, Departments of Anesthesiology, Pediatrics, and Child Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

4.4. Hypnotherapy and Test Anxiety

Two cognitive-behavioral constructs: The effects of hypnosis in reducing test anxiety and improving academic achievement in college students.

Results: There was a decrease in test anxiety and improvements in achievement for the hypnosis group. The treatment gains were maintained at 6-wk follow-up.

Notes: Investigated the effects of cognitive-behavioral hypnosis in reducing test anxiety and improving academic performance. 44 introductory psychology students received 4 sessions of hypnosis and 50 Hawthorne controls received no treatment over the same time period. Subjects’ midterm test grades and scores on the Test Anxiety Inventory were examined.

Australian Journal of Clinical Hypnotherapy and Hypnosis, Vol 12(1), Mar 1991, 25-31
By: Marty Sapp, Professor, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

4.5. Reduction of Performance Anxiety in Music Students

Results: Results indicate that hypnotherapy is likely to assist musicians in the reduction of their stage fright.

Notes: Many music students experience considerable anxiety when they perform. The present article describes a two-session hypnotherapeutic approach combining relaxation, positive suggestion, and symbolic success imagery designed to reduce this performance anxiety. The subjects of the study were 40 second- and third-year music students studying at a conservatorium of music who were paired on the basis of their Performance Anxiety Inventory scores. One member of each pair was allocated at random to an experimental group and the other to a control group. Further administrations of the Performance Anxiety Inventory (PAI) took place immediately after conclusion of the two-session treatment and 6 months later. At the time of this follow-up, subjects completed an anecdotal report providing information on their performance over the previous 6 months. Results indicate that the method is likely to assist musicians in the reduction of their stage fright.

Australian Psychologist, Volume 29, Issue 2, 1994
By: Harry E. Stanton, The University of Tasmania

4.6. Hypnosis and Medical Student Stress
Coping with examination stress through hypnosis: an experimental study.

Results: The hypnosis group improved significantly in coping with examination stress.

Notes: Fifty-six volunteer medical students participated. The hypnosis and waking groups attended eight group sessions once a week with general ego-strengthening and specific suggestions for study habits, with a ninth session of age progression and mental rehearsal. Subjects in these two groups practiced self-suggestions (in self-hypnosis or waking respectively) daily for the study period of 9 weeks. The control group experienced sessions of passive relaxation induced by light reading for the same period of time.

Am J Clin Hypn. 1989 Jan;31(3):173-80
By: B. M. Palan, S. Chandwani

5. IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) / Gastrointestinal Disorders

In 2015, a researcher from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill reviewed 35 studies on the use of hypnosis for gastrointestinal disorders including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The conclusion was that research shows unequivocally that for both adults and children with IBS, hypnosis treatment is highly efficacious in reducing bowel symptoms and can offer lasting and substantial symptom relief for a large proportion of patients who do not respond adequately to usual medical treatment approaches.[1]
In 2003, researchers from the University Hospital of South Manchester and Withington Hospital in the United Kingdom studied 204 patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). They observed that 71% of the patients responded to hypnotherapy, and 81% of those maintained their improvement over time. Hypnotherapy resulted in improvements in patient symptoms, quality of life, anxiety, and amount of medication required.[2]

5.1. Hypnosis Treatment of Gastrointestinal Disorders: A Comprehensive Review of the Empirical Evidence

Hypnotherapy has been investigated for 30 years as a treatment for gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. There are presently 35 studies in the published empirical literature, including 17 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that have assessed clinical outcomes of such treatment. This body of research is reviewed comprehensively in this article. Twenty-four of the studies have tested hypnotherapy for adult irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and 5 have focused on IBS or abdominal pain in children. All IBS hypnotherapy studies have reported significant improvement in gastrointestinal symptoms, and 7 out of 10 RCTs in adults and all 3 RCTs in pediatric patient samples found superior outcomes for hypnosis compared to control groups. Collectively this body of research shows unequivocally that for both adults and children with IBS, hypnosis treatment is highly efficacious in reducing bowel symptoms and can offer lasting and substantial symptom relief for a large proportion of patients who do not respond adequately to usual medical treatment approaches. For other GI disorders the evidence is more limited, but preliminary indications of therapeutic potential can be seen in the single randomized controlled trials published to date on hypnotherapy for functional dyspepsia, functional chest pain, and ulcerative colitis. Further controlled hypnotherapy trials in those three disorders should be a high priority. The mechanisms underlying the impact of hypnosis on GI problems are still unclear, but findings from a number of studies suggest that they involve both modulation of gut functioning and changes in the brain’s handling of sensory signals from the GI tract.

Am J Clin Hypn. 2015 Oct;58(2):134-58. doi: 10.1080/00029157.2015.1039114
Palsson O., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA

5.2. Long Term Benefits of Hypnotherapy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Results: 71% of patients initially responded to hypnotherapy. Of these, 81% maintained their improvement over time while the majority of the remaining 19% claimed that deterioration of symptoms had only been slight. With respect to symptom scores, all items at follow up were significantly improved on pre-hypnotherapy levels (p<0.001) and showed little change from post-hypnotherapy values. There were no significant differences in the symptom scores between patients assessed at 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5+ years following treatment. Quality of life and anxiety or depression scores were similarly still significantly improved at follow up (p<0.001) but did show some deterioration. Patients also reported a reduction in consultation rates and medication use following the completion of hypnotherapy.

Conclusion: This study demonstrates that the beneficial effects of hypnotherapy appear to last at least five years. Thus it is a viable therapeutic option for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome.

Notes: Patients and methods: 204 patients prospectively completed questionnaires scoring symptoms, quality of life, anxiety, and depression before, immediately after, and up to six years following hypnotherapy. All subjects also subjectively assessed the effects of hypnotherapy retrospectively in order to define their “responder status”. Gut directed hypnotherapy comprises a course of up to 12 weekly 1 hour sessions. Each session consists of induction of the hypnotic state and deepening procedures, followed by “ego strengthening” suggestions relevant to the individual. These are accompanied by further suggestions and interventions, such as inducing warmth in the abdomen using the hands and imagery, directed towards controlling and normalizing gut function.
This study presents the first long term follow up of a large number of patients who have undergone hypnotherapy for IBS symptoms.

Gut 2003;52:1623-1629 doi:10.1136/gut.52.11.1623
By: W. M. Gonsalkorale, V. Miller, A. Afzal, P. J. Whorwell, Department of Medicine, University Hospital of South Manchester, Manchester, UK Correspondence to: Dr. W. M. Gonsalkorale Hypnotherapy Unit, Withington Hospital, Nell Lane, Manchester M20 2LR, UK

Other Medical Issues

Here are brief descriptions of just some of the top studies done at universities and hospitals that show how hypnosis helps with various other medical issues.

1. Dementia / Alzheimer’s Disease
In 2007, a study done by researchers in two care homes in the United Kingdom found that dementia patients who received regular weekly hypnosis sessions over a 9-month period showed improvements in all 7 aspects of their “quality of life”: concentration, relaxation, motivation, activities of daily living, immediate memory, memory of significant events, and socialization. In fact, some of those improvements were maintained for a period of time after the study – such as for 21 months or more from the start date of the study.[1]

1.1. Alternative Approaches to Supporting Individuals with Dementia: Enhancing Quality of Life Through Hypnosis

Results: This pilot study explored the use of hypnosis to influence 7 aspects of quality of life in individuals with dementia: concentration, relaxation, motivation, activities of daily living, immediate memory, memory of significant events, and socialization. The results indicate that hypnosis has a beneficial impact on quality of life on both a short-term and long-term basis. Unlike the other study participants, the participants in the hypnosis group showed improvement in all 7 items – some of which were maintained over a period of time, such as 21 months or more.

The study authors hypothesize that perhaps an individual with dementia is aware of his or her gradual loss of abilities. That awareness leads to increased levels of anxiety and depression – which are known to involve active cognitive processing. Because the individual’s limited cognitive resources are being used up by anxiety and depression, even greater loss of memory, motivation and ability takes place. The authors further hypothesize that hypnosis may decrease an individual with dementia’s anxiety and depression (through positive suggestion and relaxation), which – in turn – may free up otherwise engaged resources so they are available for the individual to use to successfully accomplish cognitive tasks.

Notes: Eighteen participants were recruited from 2 care homes and were randomly allocated into 1 of 3 groups, the hypnosis group (HG), the discussion group (DG), and the treatment-as-usual group (TG). The HG received weekly individual sessions of hypnosis carried out in their single-occupancy bedrooms at their residential or nursing home. Each session lasted approximately 1 hour. Thus, over the 9-month period each HG participant received a total of 36 hours of hypnosis in 36 sessions. Prior to the first hypnosis session, each participant received 1-hour consultation and interview to customize the terminology used during the hypnosis sessions. This ensured that the language used was familiar and personalized for each participant and to ensure comprehension of suggestions that were to be used. Participants were also introduced to the process of progressive muscle relaxation. Participants were induced into hypnosis in 3 phases: (i) eye closure, (ii) progressive muscle relaxation, starting at the scalp and moving progressively down toward the feet, and (iii) a permissive induction. Permissive inductions “ask” each participant to allow oneself to become more relaxed. After deepening, the HG participants were given direct suggestions relating to the 7 items described earlier, along with additional “CRC” suggestions (Calmness, Relaxation, and Confidence). Examples of the statements are provided below.

At the end of this session, and between now and the next time I see you, you will feel more relaxed and at ease, more motivated to do the things you want to do.
You will have clarity of thought; you will be able to concentrate for longer periods of time.
You will have fewer concerns and less feelings of anxiousness.
Spending time with others will have meaning and you will want to spend time chatting with others.

For each of the 7 items, all participants were rated on a 7-point scale, assessed once at the start of the study period and then at weekly intervals.

Alzheimer’s Care Today 2007; 8(4):321-331
By: Simon Duff, Ph.D., is a chartered forensic psychologist and a trained hypnotherapist, working at the Division of Clinical Psychology, University of Liverpool, and the Mersey Forensic Psychology Service, Liverpool, United Kingdom. Daniel Nightingale, Ph.D., was first trained in social work, then as a registered nurse in learning disabilities before completing a doctorate in both learning disabilities and transitional shock. He is a trained hypnotherapist and head of dementia services at Southern Cross Healthcare, The Alton Centre, Northampton, United Kingdom.

2. Arthritis
In 2000, researchers from the Institute of Medical Psychology, Ludwig-Maximilian-University in Germany conducted a study involving 66 Rheumatoid Arthritis patients. The patients who used hypnosis experienced clinically significant improvements in both subjective measurements (e.g., to assess the severity of joint pain/function) and objective measurements (e.g. testing blood samples for indicators of inflammation). The patients who used hypnosis improved more than the patients in the study who used other techniques – such as relaxation. And, improvements became even more significant if one of the patients in the study practiced hypnosis regularly during follow-up periods.[1]

2.1. The Effect of Hypnosis Therapy on the Symptoms and Disease Activity in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Results: Results indicate that the hypnosis therapy produced more significant improvements in both the subjective and objective measurements, above relaxation and medication. Improvements were also found to be of clinical significance and became even more significant when patients practiced the hypnosis regularly during the follow-up periods.

Notes: The present study aimed to assess the effectiveness of clinical hypnosis on the symptoms and disease activity of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Sixty-six RA patients participated in a controlled group design. Twenty-six patients learnt the hypnosis intervention, 20 patients were in a relaxation control group and 20 patients were in a waiting-list control group. During hypnosis, patients developed individual visual imagery aimed at reducing the autoimmune activity underlying the RA and at reducing the symptoms of joint pain, swelling and stiffness. Subjective assessments of symptom severity and body and joint function, using standardized questionnaires and visual analogue scales, were obtained. Objective measures of disease activity via multiple blood samples during the therapy period and at the two follow-ups were also taken. These measurements were of erythrocyte sedimentation rate. C-reactive protein, hemoglobin and leukocyte total numbers.

Psychol Health. 2000 Nov;14(6):1089-104
By: J. R. Horton-Hausknecht, U. Mitzdorf, D. Melchart, Institute of Medical Psychology, Ludwig-Maximilian-University, Goethestr, 31, 80336, Munich, Germany

3. Asthma
In 2000, researchers from the University of California analyzed numerous studies that had previously been conducted about the effect of hypnosis on asthmatic patients. Those researchers concluded that the studies that have already been done consistently demonstrate the power of hypnosis to help someone with asthma. Children in particular seemed to respond well to hypnosis as a tool.[1]

In 2007, a Harvard Medical School Ph.D. reviewed the evidence from various controlled outcome studies on hypnosis for asthma. The review concluded that hypnosis may be successfully used to treat asthma symptom severity as well as emotional states that can exacerbate airway obstruction.[2]

3.1. Hypnosis and Asthma: Critical Review

Results: This report concluded that studies conducted to date have consistently demonstrated an effect of hypnosis with asthma. Existing data suggest that hypnosis efficacy is enhanced in subjects who are susceptible to the treatment modality (hypnosis), with experienced investigators, when administered over several sessions, and when reinforced by patient self-hypnosis. Children in particular appear to respond well to hypnosis as a tool for improving asthma symptoms.

Notes: This report analyzed numerous studies that were conducted on the effect of hypnosis on asthmatic patients.
Journal of Asthma, Volume 37, Issue 1 February 2000, pages 1-15
By: R. M. Hackman, J. S. Stern, M. E. Gershwin, University of California

3.2. Evidence-Based Hypnotherapy for Asthma: A Critical Review

Results: This review concludes that hypnosis is possibly efficacious for treatment of asthma symptom severity and illness-related behaviors and is efficacious for managing emotional states that exacerbate airway obstruction. Hypnosis is also possibly efficacious for decreasing airway obstruction and stabilizing airway hyper-responsiveness in some individuals.

Notes: This paper reviewed evidence primarily from controlled outcome studies on hypnosis for asthma.
International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis 2007 April.55(2)220-49
By: Daniel Brown, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School

4. Blood Pressure
In 2007, a University of Paris Ph.D. in clinical psychology studied 30 participants with high blood pressure and concluded that hypnosis is effective in reducing blood pressure both in the short term and long term.[1]

4.1. Effectiveness of Hypnosis in Reducing Mild Essential Hypertension: A One-Year Follow-Up

Results: The present study investigates the effectiveness of hypnosis in reducing mild essential hypertension. Results show that hypnosis is effective in reducing blood pressure in the short term but also in the middle and long terms.

Notes: Thirty participants who were suffering from mild essential hypertension were randomly assigned to either a control group (which did not receive any treatment) or a hypnosis group (where each person received 8 individually tailored hypnosis sessions).

International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, Vol. 55, Issue 1, 2007
By: M. C. Gay, Univ. of Paris, France

5. Cancer
In a study of 150 participants concluding in 2015, a nurse and researcher at the City of Hope Cancer Center studied 150 cancer patients and found that 78% of those who used hypnosis experienced significant, lasting reduction in symptoms such as anxiety, pain, sleeplessness, fatigue, nausea and vomiting.[1]

In 2013, researchers from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the City of Hope Cancer Center reviewed the empirical literature on hypnosis as a cancer prevention and control technique. They concluded that hypnosis has strong support for use in surgery and other invasive procedures and shows promise to help with chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and metastatic disease.[2]

In 2005, researchers from hospitals and hospices in the United Kingdom studied the impact of hypnosis on 20 hospice cancer patients. They found that hypnotherapy did help the cancer patients with insomnia, frequent bowel actions, itchiness, pain, chemotherapy side effects like nausea and fatigue, and anxiety. They also concluded that the “best time for hypnotherapy to be offered to cancer patients is right at the time of diagnosis.”[3]

5.1. Nurse-Led Hypnosis Service
This independent nursing practice provides hypnosis services to cancer patients for the management of cancer and cancer treatment-related side-effects including pain, anxiety, nausea and vomiting, depression, insomnia, and fatigue. In addition, behavioral change (smoking and weight management) may be addressed.

5.2. Hypnosis for Cancer Care: Over 200 Years Young
Notes: Hypnosis has been used to provide psychological and physical comfort to individuals diagnosed with cancer for nearly 200 years. The goals of this review are: 1) to describe hypnosis and its components and to dispel misconceptions; 2) to provide an overview of hypnosis as a cancer prevention and control technique (covering its use in weight management, smoking cessation, as an adjunct to diagnostic and treatment procedures, survivorship, and metastatic disease); and 3) to discuss future research directions. Overall, the literature supports the benefits of hypnosis for improving quality of life during the course of cancer and its treatment.

CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, Volume 63, Issue 1, pages 31-44, January/February 2013
By: Guy H. Montgomery Ph.D., Director, Integrative Behavioral Medicine Program, Associate Professor, Department of Oncological Sciences, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY
Julie B. Schnur Ph.D., Co-Director, Integrative Behavioral Medicine Program, Assistant Professor, Department of Oncological Sciences, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY
Kate Kravits MA, RN, HNB-BC, LPC, NCC, ATR-BC, Senior Research Specialist, Division of Nursing Research and Education, Department of Population Sciences, City of Hope, Duarte, CA

5.3. Efficacy of Hypnotherapy as a Supplement Therapy in Cancer Intervention

Results: Of the 20 patients who completed the three sessions of hypnotherapy all reported varying degrees of anxiety. 5 patients wanted to have hypnotherapy for insomnia as a primary presenting complain, 1 for excessive itchiness during night time, 1 for excessively frequent bowel actions – 8 to 10 times a day for the last year, which invariably interfered with his social life and prevented him from going out, 8 wanted to have hypnotherapy for pain control, 3 patients opted for hypnotherapy to prevent the side effects of chemotherapy and 2 patients had it specifically for severe anxiety and panic attacks.

The 5 patients who had hypnotherapy for insomnia all reported improved sleeping patterns even after the first session. After the third session none of them complained of insomnia and this result was sustained till the followup, which was 3 to 4 months after the first session. They also reported increased energy levels, less tiredness and improved appetite. 2 of the patients with insomnia have been on Temazepam 10mg before bed, which they voluntarily stopped taking after the first session.

The patient with nighttime itchiness reported that their itchiness stopped after the first session and she continued with the remaining two hypnotherapy sessions working towards pain control.

The patient with frequent bowel action reported that he managed to half the number of times he went to the toilet after the second session.
Of the 8 patients who had hypnotherapy for pain control, all reported that the intensity of pain has significantly been reduced and as a result they have reduced heir dose of opiate analgesics taken daily.

The 3 patients, who took part in the study to prevent the side effects of chemotherapy, also reported very good results with no nausea, sickness and less loss of energy, which was in contrast with their previous experience with chemotherapy.

Most of the patients (19 out of 20) reported that after the first two hypnotherapy sessions they were able to relax for the first time in a very long period, felt less tired and more energetic, had more refreshing night sleep and as a result were able to cope better with their daily activities.

It appears that the best time for hypnotherapy to be offered to cancer patients is right at the time of diagnosis. In that way, patients will be able to develop better coping skills much earlier in the disease process, which will help them to possibly prevent severe anxiety, depression and panic attacks from developing. They will have better treatment compliance and generally will have a more positive psychological response to their illness, which has been suggested as a good prognostic factor with an influence on survival.

Notes: All the patients who took part in the trial were day hospice patients of Ann Delhom Centre, Wisdom Hospice, Rochester, UK. Patients were offered three hypnotherapy sessions and were assessed before the first session and after the third one together with a follow up after 3/4 months after the last session. On the first session all the patients were taught ”progressive muscle relaxation” and self- hypnosis. Short ego boosting was also incorporated at the end of the session. The second and third sessions were different for every patient depending on the expressed symptoms and because of that were always individually tailored. Most of the sessions included guided imagery and direct therapeutic suggestions.

European Journal of Clinical Hypnosis: 2005 Volume 6 – Issue 1
By: Dr Rumi Peynovska, Dr Jackie Fisher, Dr David Oliver, Prof V.M. MathewStone House Hospital, Dartford, West Kent NHS and Social Care Trust, Wisdom Hospice, Rochester, Medway NHS Trust
Dr Rumi Peynovska MD, MSc, FBAMH – Research Fellow, Stone House Hospital, Dartford, West Kent NHS Trust
Dr Jackie Fisher BSc, MRCGP – Consultant in Palliative Medicine, Wisdom Hospice, Rochester, Medway NHS Trust
Dr David Oliver BSc, FRCGP – Consultant and Medical Director, Wisdom Hospice, Rochester, Medway NHS Trust
Prof. V.M. Mathew MBBS, MPhil, MRCPsych – Clinical Director, Stone House Hospital, Dartford, West Kent NHS Trust

6. Diabetes
In 2008, researchers from Lund University in Sweden concluded that empirical research shows promising results for hypnosis as an adjunct therapy to insulin treatments in the management of diabetes.[1]

6.1. 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

7. Headaches
In 2007, a Professor at the University of Utah School of Medicine reviewed numerous studies on hypnosis for headaches and concluded that hypnosis is a well-established, effective treatment for headaches and migraines.[1]

In 2007, a researcher from the University of Minnesota studied 144 children and adolescents who were taught self-hypnosis to help with recurrent headaches. The results showed the hypnosis significantly helped with frequency of headaches, intensity of headaches, and duration of headaches.[2]

7.1. Review of the Efficacy of Clinical Hypnosis with Headaches and Migraines

Results: Concluded that hypnosis meets the criteria to be considered a well-established, effective treatment for headaches and migraines. Furthermore, hypnosis does not carry any risk of causing an adverse reaction.

Notes: This was a review of the numerous studies on hypnosis for headaches. The author also recommends the following for those who frequently wake up in the morning with a headache or migraine: a self-hypnosis tape (that is left open-ended at its conclusion) can be used at bedtime to promote calming and deep relaxation, with repetitive suggestions that “As you sleep, your jaw will remain relaxed and at ease throughout the night, free from tension and tightness. And if there is a need to clench anything, your mind will cause you to clench a hand into a fist, but your jaw will remain loose and limp, relaxed and at ease as you sleep.”

Int’l Jrnl of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, Vol. 55(2), April 2007; 207-219
By: Corydon Hammond, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

7.2. Self-Hypnosis Training for Headaches in Children and Adolescents

Results: Data were available for 144 patients in this patient self-selected and uncontrolled observation. Compared with self-reports before learning self-hypnosis, children and youths who learned self-hypnosis for recurrent headaches reported reduction in frequency of headache from an average of 4.5 per week to 1.4 per week (P < .01), reduction in intensity (on a self-rating scale of 0 to 12) from an average of 10.3 to 4.7, P < .01, and reduction in average duration from 23.6 hours to 3.0 hours, (P < .01). There were no adverse side effects of self-hypnosis. Conclusion: training in self-hypnosis is associated with significant improvement of chronic recurrent headaches in children and adolescents.

Notes: A retrospective review was conducted of outpatient clinical records of 178 consecutive youths referred to the Behavioral Pediatrics Program (University of Minnesota) from 1988 to 2001 for recurrent headaches. All patients were taught self-hypnosis for self-regulation. Intensity, frequency, and duration of headaches before, during, and after treatment were measured. Outcomes included number and frequency of visits, types of medication, and nature of self-hypnosis practice.

Induction (initiation) of hypnosis was typically easily begun with simple focus on eye closure and imagination of any one of the patient’s several favorite activities. Intensification or deepening of the hypnotic experience was accomplished with suggestions for multisensory imagery (eg, encouraging the patient to imagine being in their favorite place, enjoying what they see, hear, feel, taste, and smell there), progressive relaxation (eg, head to toe or toe to head), or both.

Hypnotic suggestions for control of headaches (“HA”) were offered as a “menu” from which the patient could choose, for example, “When you have a HA, let yourself imagine you are somewhere where you never have a HA, and go there,” “When you have a HA, picture in your mind that ruler from 0 to 12 on which you measure your HA… Notice what number it is on, perhaps 8 or 6 or 3 or 9 or 7… and then watch the number go lower. Maybe you will do that as though you were on an elevator… if your HA is a 7, push the button to ride down to 6, and then and… then… 4… and… then… all the way to 0,” “OR maybe you will imagine your HA is a certain shape and color and in another part of your mind is the color and shape of happy and comfortable… and you can watch the HA shape and color in your mind get smaller and smaller and smaller while the happy and comfort shape get bigger and bigger until it fills the screen in your imagination,” “OR perhaps you will have another way in your mind. Whichever works best for you is the best for you.” Before conclusion of the first hypnotic session, all patients were taught precisely how to do SH at home and were encouraged to practice this two to three times daily.

J Pediatr. 2007 Jun;150(6):635-9
By: D. P. Kohen, R. Zajac, Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

8. Healing – Healing of Broken Bones, Post-Surgical Wound Healing

In 1999, researchers at Harvard Medical School studied 11 people with fractured bones and concluded that those participants who used hypnosis healed faster (by 2 ½ weeks), required less pain medication, showed more improvement in ankle mobility, and had an easier time descending stairs.[1]

In 2003, researchers at Harvard Medical School studied 18 patients who had breast reduction surgery. They concluded that those participants who used hypnosis healed significantly faster than those who did not use hypnosis.[2]

8.1. Using Hypnosis to Accelerate the Healing of Bone Fractures: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study

Results: Radiographs taken at 6 weeks showed that the hypnosis group were healing much faster than the control group (it was estimated that it took the control group another 2½ weeks to achieve the same level of healing). Other assessments also revealed that those who had used hypnosis required less medication for the pain, had a significant improvement in the mobility of their ankle, and had an easier time descending stairs then did those in the control group. The authors concluded that hypnosis can accelerate the healing of fractured bones and: …this preliminary study reinforces findings of a fascinating link between mind and body in augmenting healing. If the mind can be harnessed to accelerate the speed of healing in a difficult test – that is, the relatively fixed, normative course and time frame of a non-displaced bone fracture – it may be even more effective in other applications in which the course of healing is presumed more variable.

Notes: In this study, 11 subjects who had fractured bones were randomly assigned to a control or a hypnosis group. All subjects received the standard care for orthopedic patients (which included clinical assessments and radiographs over the 12 weeks following the fracture). The hypnosis group received a series of individual office visits as well a audiotapes reinforcing the content of the hypnotic sessions. Direct and indirect suggestions were given to reduce inflammation and swelling, alleviate pain, stimulate tissue growth and fusion at the injury site and counteract the psychological distress associated with injury. Hypnotic mental rehearsal of increased ankle mobility, enhanced bone strength, and recovery of normal activities for rehabilitation were included.

Altern Ther Health Med. 1999 Mar;5(2):67-75
By: C. S. Ginandes, Clinical Instructor, Dept. of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School and Senior Attending Psychologist, McLean Hospital
D. I. Rosenthal, Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School, Director of Dept. of Bone and Joint Radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston

8.2. Can Medical Hypnosis Accelerate Post-Surgical Wound Healing? Results of a Clinical Trial

Results: The researchers found that during the 7 weeks following surgery, those who were in the hypnosis group healed significantly faster then those in the other two groups. This study concluded that hypnosis can significantly accelerate the healing of surgical wounds.

Notes: Eighteen patients who were due to have surgery to reduce the size of their breasts were randomly assigned to one of three groups. The first group (the control group) received standard care; the second group received 8 “supportive” sessions (to make sure that the outcome was not simply the result of the extra attention paid to the patients); while the third group received 8 hypnosis sessions that focused on accelerating the healing of their surgical wounds. Digital photographs were taken and various objective techniques were used to measure the rate of healing.

Am J Clin Hypn. 2003 Apr;45(4):333-51
By: C. Ginandes, P. Brooks, W. Sando, C. Jones, J. Aker, Department of Psychology, Harvard Medical School, McLean Hospital, 115 Mill Street Belmont, MA 02478, USA

9. HPV – Human Papillomavirus

In 2009, researchers from Washington State University and Eastern Washington University studied the effect of hypnosis on human papillomavirus (HPV), which is the most common sexually transmitted diseases and can lead to cervical and other cancers. Hypnosis resulted in statistically significant reduction in areas and numbers of lesions. Hypnosis also was more effective than medical treatment in achieving complete clearance of warts.[1]

9.1. Efficacy of Hypnosis in the Treatment of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) in Women: Rural and Urban Samples

Results: Both hypnosis and medical therapy resulted in a statistically significant (p < .04) reduction in areas and numbers of lesions. Yet, at the 12-week follow-up, complete clearance rates were 5 to 1 in favor of hypnosis.

Notes: This article investigates the effect of hypnosis on immunity and whether this is the key mechanism in the hypnotic treatment of the genital infection caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease and can lead to cervical and other cancers. Current medical treatments are aimed at tissue assault (acids, freezing, surgery). Medical wart clearance rates are only 30% to 70% and reoccurrence is common. This research contrasted hypnosis-only with medical-only therapies, using both urban hospital and rural community samples.

International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, Volume 58, Issue 1, 2009, Pages 102-121
By: Arreed Barabasz, Linda Higley, Ciara Christensen and Marianne Barabasz, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, USA, Eastern Washington University, Riverpoint, Washington, USA

10. Medical Tests – Hypnosis to Make Tests Easier and More Comfortable

In 2010, researchers in Brazil studied 20 claustrophobic patients to evaluate the use of hypnosis for management of claustrophobia in patients submitted to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). They found that 15 of the 16 hypnotizable subjects who were submitted to magnetic resonance imaging could complete the examination under hypnotic trance, with no sign of claustrophobia and without need of sedative drugs.[1]

In 2006, researchers, including ones from Baylor University and Texas A & M University College of Medicine, studied hypnosis for pain and anxiety management in 6 colonoscopy patients who received a hypnotic induction and instruction in self-hypnosis on the day of their colonoscopy. Their results suggest that hypnosis appears to be a feasible method to manage anxiety and pain associated with colonoscopy, reduces the need for sedation, and may have other benefits such as reduced vasovagal events and recovery time.[2]

In 2008, researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine studied 90 patients who were having breast biopsies and concluded that brief presurgery hypnosis is an effective way of controlling distress in women awaiting diagnostic breast cancer surgery.[3]

10.1. Hypnosis for Management of Claustrophobia in Magnetic Resonance Imaging
(Study developed at Hospital e Maternidade São Camilo Pompeia, São Paulo, SP, Brazil)

Results: Out of the sample, 18 (90%) patients were susceptible to the technique. Of the 16 hypnotizable subjects who were submitted to magnetic resonance imaging, 15 (93.8%) could complete the examination under hypnotic trance, with no sign of claustrophobia and without need of sedative drugs.

Conclusion: Hypnosis is an alternative to anesthetic sedation for claustrophobic patients who must undergo magnetic resonance imaging.

Notes: The objective was to evaluate the efficacy of hypnosis for management of claustrophobia in patients submitted to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Twenty claustrophobic patients referred for magnetic resonance imaging under sedation were submitted to hypnosis The patients susceptible to hypnosis were submitted to magnetic resonance imaging under hypnotic trance without using sedative drugs.

After hypnotic induction, the patients underwent ideosensory activities, with induction of vivid, pleasant visual and kinesthetic sensations (walk through a relaxing, safe and welcoming landscape) associated with a sensation of peace, tranquility and safety. After the establishment of the hypnogenic signal, the patients were dehypnotized for assessment of the depth and efficacy of the induced hypnotic trance. Subsequently, hypnosis was induced again, this time by means of the hypnogenic signal. In this second procedure (double induction technique), the patients were introduced to the different phases of the MRI examination which are resignified and associated with the relaxing sensation achieved in the previous ideosensory activity. On the occasion of the procedure, the patient was hypnotized with utilization of the hypnogenic signal in a preparation room, and taken on a wheelchair to the MRI equipment, being dehypnotized once the procedure was completed.

Radiologia Brasileira, Vol. 43, No. 1, São Paulo Jan./Feb. 2010
By: Luiz Guilherme Carneiro Velloso (Maternidade São Camilo Pompeia, São Paulo, SP, Brazil); Maria de Lourdes DupratII (Psychologist, Group of Medical Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy of Hospital e Maternidade São Camilo Pompeia, São Paulo, SP, Brazil); Ricardo Martins (Biomedical Scientist, Unit of Imaging Diagnosis – Hospital e Maternidade São Camilo Pompeia, São Paulo, SP, Brazil); Luiz Scoppetta (MD, Radiologist, Unit of Imaging Diagnosis – Hospital e Maternidade São Camilo Pompeia, São Paulo, SP, Brazil)

10.2. Hypnosis to Manage Anxiety and Pain Associated with Colonoscopy for Colorectal Cancer Screening: Case Studies and Possible Benefits

Results: Results suggest that hypnosis appears to be a feasible method to manage anxiety and pain associated with colonoscopy, reduces the need for sedation, and may have other benefits such as reduced vasovagal events and recovery time.

Notes: This study explored using hypnosis for pain and anxiety management in 6 colonoscopy patients (5 men, 1 woman), who received a hypnotic induction and instruction in self-hypnosis on the day of their colonoscopy. Patients’ levels of anxiety were obtained before and after the hypnotic induction using Visual Analogue Scales (VAS). Following colonoscopy, VASs were used to assess anxiety and pain during colonoscopy, perceived effectiveness of hypnosis, and patient satisfaction with medical care. Hypnotizability was assessed at a separate appointment. The authors also obtained data (time for procedure, number of vasovagal events, and recovery time) for 10 consecutive patients who received standard care.

International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, Volume 54, Issue 4, 2006
By: Gary Elkins, Joseph White, Parita Patel, Joel Marcus, Michelle M. Perfect und Guy H. Montgomery
Author Affiliations:
a. Baylor University, Waco, Texas, USA
b. Scott and White Memorial Hospital, Temple, Texas, USA
c. Texas A & M University College of Medicine, College Station, Texas, USA
d. Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York, USA)

10.3. Hypnosis Decreases Presurgical Distress in Excisional Breast Biopsy Patients

Results: Post intervention, and before surgery, patients in the hypnosis group had significantly lower mean values for presurgery VAS emotional upset (16.5 vs 38.2, P < 0.0001, d = .85), VAS depressed mood (6.6 vs 19.9, P < 0.02, d = .67), and SV-POMS anxiety (10.0 vs 5.0, P < 0.0001, d = 0.85); and significantly higher levels for VAS relaxation (75.7 vs 54.2, P < 0.001, d = -0.76) than attention controls. The study results indicate that a brief presurgery hypnosis intervention can be an effective means of controlling presurgical distress in women awaiting diagnostic breast cancer surgery.

Notes: Excisional breast biopsy is associated with presurgical psychological distress. Such distress is emotionally taxing, and may have negative implications for postsurgical side effects and satisfaction with anesthesia. We investigated the ability of a brief hypnosis session to reduce presurgical psychological distress in excisional breast biopsy patients. Ninety patients presenting for excisional breast biopsy were randomly assigned to receive either a 15-minute pre-surgery hypnosis session (n = 49, mean age: 46.4 (95% CI: 42.3-50.4)) or a 15-minute pre-surgery attention control session (n = 41, mean age: 45.0 (95% CI: 40.8-49.2)). The hypnosis session involved suggestions for increased relaxation and decreased distress. The attention control session involved non-directive empathic listening. Pre-surgery distress was measured using visual analog scales (VAS) and the short version of the Profile of Mood States (SV-POMS). Data were analyzed using analysis of variance and chi2 procedures.

Anesth Analg. 2008 Feb;106(2):440-4
By: J. B. Schnur, D. H. Bovbjerg, D. David, K. Tatrow, A. B. Goldfarb, J. H. Silverstein, C. R. Weltz, G. H. Montgomery, Department of Oncological Sciences, Box 1130, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, 1 Gustave L. Levy Place, New York City, NY 10029-6574, USA
Am Psychol. 2014 Feb-Mar;69(2):167-77. doi: 10.1037/a0035644

11. Pain

In 2014, researchers from the University of Washington reviewed recent clinical trials regarding studies hypnosis for pain management and found that hypnosis is effective for reducing chronic pain. They conclude that: “Chronic pain management remains one of the largest challenges in health care, and hypnosis is an undeveloped but highly promising intervention that can help to address this problem.”[1]

In 2015, researchers from the University of Rome reviewed functional neuroimaging studies focusing on pain perception under hypnosis, which supported the clinical use of hypnosis in the management of pain conditions.[2]

11.1. Hypnotic Approaches for Chronic Pain Management: Clinical Implications of Recent Research Findings

Abstract: The empirical support for hypnosis for chronic pain management has flourished over the past two decades. Clinical trials show that hypnosis is effective for reducing chronic pain, although outcomes vary between individuals. The findings from these clinical trials also show that hypnotic treatments have a number of positive effects beyond pain control. Neurophysiological studies reveal that hypnotic analgesia has clear effects on brain and spinal-cord functioning that differ as a function of the specific hypnotic suggestions made, providing further evidence for the specific effects of hypnosis. The research results have important implications for how clinicians can help their clients experience maximum benefits from hypnosis and treatments that include hypnotic components.

Am Psychol. 2014 Feb-Mar;69(2):167-77. doi: 10.1037/a0035644
Jensen MP, Patterson DR, Dept. of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington

11.2. Pain Perception and Hypnosis: Findings from Recent Functional Neuroimaging Studies

Hypnosis modulates pain perception and tolerance by affecting cortical and subcortical activity in brain regions involved in these processes. By reviewing functional neuroimaging studies focusing on pain perception under hypnosis, the authors aimed to identify brain activation-deactivation patterns occurring in hypnosis-modulated pain conditions. Different changes in brain functionality occurred throughout all components of the pain network and other brain areas. The anterior cingulate cortex appears to be central in modulating pain circuitry activity under hypnosis. Most studies also showed that the neural functions of the prefrontal, insular, and somatosensory cortices are consistently modified during hypnosis-modulated pain conditions. Functional neuroimaging studies support the clinical use of hypnosis in the management of pain conditions.

Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2015;63(2):144-70. doi: 10.1080/00207144.2015.1002371
Del Casale A1, Ferracuti S, Rapinesi C, Serata D, Caltagirone SS, Savoja V, Piacentino D, Callovini G, Manfredi G, Sani G, Kotzalidis GD, Girardi P., University of Rome

12. Strokes

In 2006, researchers from Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital conducted a clinical study of six chronic stroke subjects who were hypnotized. Measurements of motor function and brain activity were taken. After hypnosis, the six subjects exhibited qualitative improvement in motor function related to increased range of motion, increased grip strength, and reduced spasticity of the paretic upper limb. After hypnosis, the subjects also reported an improved outlook, increased motivation as well as decreased effort to perform motor tasks.[1]

12.1. Hypnosis for Rehabilitation After Stroke: Six Case Studies

Results: After hypnosis, the six chronic stroke subjects exhibited qualitative improvements in motor function related to increased range of motion, increased grip strength, and reduced spasticity of the paretic upper limb. Subjects also consistently reported after hypnosis an improved outlook, increased motivation, as well as greater awareness of and decreased effort to perform motor tasks with the paretic limb.

Notes: This was a clinical study of six chronic stroke subjects who were hypnotized. Measurements of motor function and brain activity were taken. The researchers’ hypothesis was that a hypnotic procedure would help overcome learned nonuse, which is thought to contribute to impaired motor function of the paretic upper limb in chronic stroke patients.

The hypnotic procedure involved selecting motor tasks that would challenge each subject, then (1) imagined practice of the challenging motor task revivified from prior to the stroke alternated with imagined practice in the present; (2) having the subjects imagine performing the task with eyes opened – alternating with eyes closed (imagined practice in the present alternated with imagined practice during active-alert hypnosis); and (3) active-alert imagined practice alternated with actual physical performance. Four sessions established a baseline motor function. Four sessions of the hypnotic procedure were then given. Finally, four follow-up sessions were conducted to track changes in motor function post-intervention. The hypnotic procedures were approximately one hour in duration and occurred with a frequency of once or twice per week.

Subject 1: Among other things, in hypnosis, this subject visualized entering his office and counting out money for the week’s payroll – a task that requires considerable dexterity. On the fourth hypnosis session, the subject said that he tied his own shoelaces for the first time since the stroke.

Subject 2: Among other things, in hypnosis, this subject visualized operating motorcycle controls and imagined relaxing while floating on the water of a favorite lake – to reduce the tensing up that inhibited movements. After a number of hypnosis sessions, the subject reported increased sensation in his hand. He also reported less effort to squeeze his hand.

Subject 3: Among other things, in hypnosis, this subject was given suggestions for increased awareness and connectivity with her limbs. She described that she could imagine wires in her arms to connect to her hand that were in a tangled up mess. Suggestions were given to color the wires one at a time and add labels indicating which wire went to which finger. The subject reported feeling increased awareness of her hand after this process.

Subject 4: Among other things, in hypnosis, this subject visualized playing his cello with fluid movement of the bow. In time, the subject felt his paretic limb extension was improving, and he was regaining the ability to pick up cans and form a precision grip.

Subject 5: Among other things, in hypnosis, this subject visualized dribbling a basketball. He reported that he could bounce a ball after the hypnosis session about 10 times when before he could only achieve 1 or 2 bounces. Improvements were observed in the range of motion of wrist rotation and finger extension.

Subject 6: Among other things, in hypnosis, this subject visualized a hand grip motor task. After hypnosis sessions, her performance on the task steadily improved. By the 3rd hypnosis session, it was also noticeably easier to remove the grip from her hand.
Each of the six subjects/case studies is individually described and detailed.

Contemp. Hypnosis 23(4): 173-180 (2006) Published online in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com) DOI: 10.1002/ch.319
S. G. Diamond, R. Howe* **, Orin C. Davis**, Judith D. Schaechter**, and Robert D. Howe*
* Harvard University, Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Cambridge, MA, USA
** Massachusetts General Hospital, Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Charlestown, MA, USA

More Evidence of Increasing Medical Use of Hypnosis

In addition to the studies described above, there are many other examples of the increasing use of hypnosis for medical issues. Here are just a few examples:

In 2015, it was reported that surgeons at the Institute Curie in Paris did more than 70 cancer operations using just hypnosis and a local anesthetic – often in cases where use of a general anesthetic would be risky (like when the patient had heart or breathing problems) or where the patient needed to recover quickly.

In 2016, it was reported that the burns unit of the Lausanne University Hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland, uses hypnosis on a daily basis and that hypnosis is offered to all patients. Two nurses in the Intensive Care Unit only do hypnosis. A study has shown that the hypnosis reduces anxiety, the use of drugs, the overall need for anesthetics and, on average, reduces the time spent by patients in intensive care by five days.

The website of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center was updated in 2015 to include information on “Using hypnosis to cope with cancer” and how “Hypnosis can help you feel better mentally and emotionally.”

The University of California San Diego Moore’s Cancer Center now offers hospitalized cancer patients hypnotherapy.

Harvard Medical School asked a hypnotist to speak to a class of third year medical students interested in the use of hypnosis in the medical community.

In 2015, the Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank CA announced the creation of a job opening for a hypnotherapist to work with cancer patients in its Integrative Medicine Clinic and also at the Disney Family Cancer Center.

The University of California San Diego hired a full time hypnotherapist in 2013 to assist with and develop a hypnotherapy program for its Maternal Mental Health Clinic, to provide hypnotherapy services for its patients, and to educate the university staff and faculty about hypnotherapy.

New Studies Currently in Progress

Because of the increased interest in hypnosis for medical issues, many new studies on this topic are currently in progress or recruiting participants. Here is a list of some of those (https://clinicaltrials.gov/):

  • Hypnosis to Perform Awake Intubation
  • Hypnosis to Improve Sleep In Menopause
  • Hypnosis, Self-hypnosis and Weight Loss in Obese Patients
  • Assessment of the Contribution of Hypnosis in the Tolerance of the Bronchoscopy
  • DVD-Based Training Program in Self-Hypnosis for Children (program for parents to use with their children to teach self-hypnosis techniques for inducing relaxation and hypnotic analgesia; these relaxation techniques can be employed to manage anticipatory anxiety, distress, and pain during an invasive medical procedure)
  • Hypnosis as a Potentiation Technique for the Interventional Treatment of Chronic Lumbar Pain
  • Hypnosis for Pain and Itch Following Burn Injuries
  • Conversational Hypnosis in Women Undergoing Imaging for Breast Cancer
  • Hypnotherapy in Treating Chronic Pain in Cancer Survivors
  • Effect of Hypnosis on Dyspnea (shortness of breath)
  • Self-hypnosis in Patients Awaiting Lung Transplantation
  • Pediatric Emergency Suture Care: a Trial Comparing the Analgesic Efficacy of Hypnosis Versus MEOPA
  • Improving Sleep Quality in People With Insomnia Using Hypnosis
  • Brain-Centered Therapy Versus Medication for Urgency Urinary Incontinence: Hypnotherapy Or Pharmacotherapy
  • Hypnosis Efficacy for the Prevention of Anxiety During a Coronary Angiography
  • Randomized Controlled Study of the Efficacy of Hypnosis Versus Relaxation and Control in Neuropathic Pain
  • Hypnotherapy vs. Probiotics in Children With IBS and Functional Abdominal Pain
  • Complementary Therapies (including hypnosis) in Spinal Fusion Patients
  • A Brief Laboratory-Based Hypnosis Session for Pain in Sickle Cell Disease