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Faster healing after surgery

Women who are hypnotised before having surgery for breast cancer spend less time in the operating theatre and recover better, researchers have found.

The study at the Mount Sinai Hospital in the US found a 15-minute session with a hypnotherapist had a significant impact on how well women coped with their surgery, and the level of pain they experienced.

Women spent an average of 10.6 minutes less in the operating theatre because they needed less sedation, and their average score for pain, fatigue, discomfort and emotional wellbeing was better than women who just had a chat with a psychologist.

The study, reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, was carried out on 200 women having minor breast surgery.

According to the research, women who were hypnotised had an average pain intensity score of 22.4, compared with 47.8 who did not. The hypnotised women also had a nausea score of 6.5, compared with 22.4 for the control group. The average score for emotional upset was just 8.6 in the hypnotised women, compared with 33.4 for those were not.

Dr David Spiegel of Stanford University School of Medicine said: It has taken us a century and a half to rediscover the fact that the mind can be a powerful tool in controlling [pain].

First published in the Daily Telegraph

Hypnosis helps combat veterans

Hypnosis is being used to help combat veterans deal with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). An article in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnos reported a study on 32 patients suffering from insomnia-related PTSD. The veterans were randomised into two groups: 15 patients in the first group received Zolpidem, an insomnia medication, for 14 nights, and 17 patients in the hypnotherapy group were treated with hypnotherapy, using 1.5-hour sessions twice-weekly for 2 weeks. The study found that those in the hypnosis group reported a 76% improvement in their ability to sleep compared with 26% in the control group on medication.This effect was preserved at follow-up 1 month later.

Bones heal more rapidly

Harvard psychology instructor Dr Carol Ginandes has found that hypnosis can accelerate the healing process. She took 12 patients with non-displacement bone fractures, and divided them into two groups. Half received a series of hypnosis sessions, including suggestions to target and accelerate their healing, together with audiotapes to listen to at home to reinforce the sessions. The remaining patients received standard orthopaedic care. The radiologist, who did not know which people had received hypnosis, identified the hypnosis group patients as healing 40% more rapidly than the control group.

Relief for IBS victims

Medics at the University of Manchester have discovered a way to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) using hypnotherapy. Up to eight million people in the UK suffer from IBS, with symptoms including diarrhoea, pain and bloating. Research by Professor Peter Whorwell using hypnosis on 250 patients showed an astonishing success rate of 70% in alleviating the symptoms of IBS. Former patient Sonia Pinnock said: I suffered from IBS for nearly 20 years but could get little relief from the symptoms. Since visiting the clinic Ive been free of IBS for five and a half years – the treatment has changed my life.

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