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Is there Published Medical Research on Hypnosis Effectiveness?

It may surprise you that medical and university researchers published studies testing the effectiveness of hypnotherapy on a variety of conditions for decades. 
These placebo-controlled randomized clinical trials have been published in some of the most prestigious medical journals, 
such as The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine. -

Contrary to the myths and some false claims you may have heard or read, this method has been PROVEN to be a quick and effective treatment modality 
for many mental and physical ailments. Below you will find a SMALL SAMPLE of the hundreds of scientific research studies that support its efficacy as a treatment modality. 
For example, the lead researcher on an extensive hospital study of the use of hypnosis right before breast surgery concluded: "If this were a drug, eveyone would be using it."


Over 50 million inpatient surgeries are performed in the USA each year. The most common are on the cardiovascular system, then digestive system and third most common are 
musculoskeletal system surgeries. These surgeries require hospital overnight stays, and usually involve some type of anaesthesia. Research has been conducted to see what 
can be accomplished in terms of the amount of anaesthesia needed (pioneered by the May brothers), pain and wound healing.

  • Hypnosis can prevent pain perception and surgical stress as a whole, comparing well with anaesthetic drugs.Facco, E., Pasquali, S., Zanette, G., & Casiglia, E. (2013). 
    Studied its use as sole anaesthesia for skin tumour removal in a patient with multiple chemical sensitivity. Anaesthesia, 68(9), 961-965

  • It can be used for breast cancer surgery to limit immunosuppression, and in the postoperative period it can reduce pain, anxiety, fatigue and improve wound healing.Potie, 
    A., Roelants, F., Pospiech, A., Momeni, M., & Watremez, C. (2016). Hypnosis in the perioperative management of breast cancer surgery: 
    Clinical benefits and potential implications. Anesthesiology Research and Practice, 2016, 1-8.

Pain Management

With 72,000 overdose deaths in America in 2017, with most of those being linked to opioids, significant research has been conducted in safer, effective and non-addictive 
pain management methods. Chronic pain is defined as any pain lasting more than 12 weeks. Approximately 100 million Americans (almost 10%) suffer from chronic pain. 
It is also the number one cause of long-term disability. Chronic pain costs American society over $600 billion a year in lost productivity and benefits. 
Research into non-traditional treatment methods is therefore not surprising.

  • The hypnotherapy is more effective in pain intensity reduction than biofeedback.Tan, G., Rintala, D., Jensen, M., Fukui, T., Smith, D., & Williams, W. (2014). 
    A randomized controlled trial of hypnosis compared with biofeedback for adults with chronic low back pain. European Journal of Pain, 19(2) 271-280.
  • It was also found to be more effective than standard medical care, supportive counseling, or childbirth education classes in reducing pain in childbirth.
    Landolt, A. S., & Milling, L. S. (2011). The efficacy of hypnosis as an intervention for labor and delivery pain: 
    A comprehensive methodological review. Clinical Psychology Review, 31(6), 1022-1031. 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

IBS is a disorder characterized by abdominal pain or discomfort, and altered bowel habit. IBS affects between 25 and 45 million people in the United States 
and two-thirds of sufferers are female. Since there seems to be a stress component in most IBS patients, it is not surprising that this well-accepted anxiety/stress methodology 
has been tried and tested. Notice that the first study below was published in the most prestigious medical journal in the United States.

  • These patients showed a dramatic improvement in all features and no relapses were recorded during the 3-month follow-up period.
    Whorwell, P., Prior, A., & Faragher, E. (1984). Controlled trial of hypnotherapy in the treatment of severe refractory irritable-bowel syndrome. The Lancet, 324(8414), 1232-1234.

  • This body of research shows that for adults and children with IBS, the treatment is highly efficacious in reducing bowel symptoms and can offer lasting and substantial symptom relief.
    Palsson, O. S. (2015). Hypnosis treatment of gastrointestinal disorders: A comprehensive review of the empirical evidence. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 58(2), 134-158.


Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults--or 18% of the population every year. 
Only 37% of anxiety sufferers actually receive treatment. This has become a huge problem especially with teenagers and college students. 
In 2016, 41% of UCLA incoming freshmen indicated they "felt overwhelmed by all I have to do." 
In 1985 the comparable number was 18%. In addition, hospital admissions for suicidal teenagers have DOUBLED in the last ten years. 

I have also found many people who had anxiety but never classified it as such. In their minds they had "insomnia" or they didn't drive on highways because they didn't like them. 
Those with social anxiety tend to avoid social situations, and thus alter their lives as a coping mechanism. Unfortunately, most recommended treatment modalities are not very effective. 
The pharmaceutical approach only provides some relief at best, and comes with a host of side effects--including suicide especially for teens--and dependency. 
Psychotherapy, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which is currently popular is promoted as "effective" in treating anxiety, yet those studies just show a SMALL improvement. 
They do not require significant improvement in anxiety symptoms. In contrast, hypnotherapy has been found to be very effective with all forms of anxiety, and the improvements begin rapidly.

General Anxiety Disorder is the most common form and affects 6.8 million adults. Panic Disorder affects 6 million adults. Social Anxiety Disorder is more common and affects 15 million adults. 
While Phobias are most common, affecting 19 million adults or almost 19% of the population. Claustrophobia (fear of enclosed places), fear of driving or flying are common issues in my office. 

  • The use of hypnosis was found to be safe and helpful in children, particularly for Anxiety Disorder or Nocturnal Enuresis.
    Hypnosis with 53 children with Anxiety Disorders, Nocturnal Enuresis or Insomnia.
    International Journal of Clinical Pediatrics 2013, doi: 10.4021/ijcp104w