Written by: Dr. David Newman, D. Sc., C. Ht.
Every day I am approached by individuals, nurse, and doctors who want to know if hypnosis is useful for one condition or another. Yesterday, I was floored when a doctor told me that he would rather prescribe medical procedures or drugs rather than use hypnosis because he couldn’t find any “blind studies” about hypnosis. I began to show him study after study with peer review showing the effectiveness of hypnosis and hypnotherapy with various medical conditions. He glanced and his jaw dropped as he said you mean the Mayo Clinic really uses hypnosis. Below is an excerpt directly from the Mayo Clinic Web Site.
“Mayo Clinic offers hypnosis as a psychological and medical therapy to help relieve symptoms of some diseases and conditions. Mayo specialists are skilled at integrating hypnosis into a patient’s overall treatment plan, when appropriate.
Specialists at Mayo Clinic recognize that many complementary and alternative medicine treatments such as hypnosis can help promote physical, mental and spiritual wellness. Mayo has created a new specialty (Complementary and Integrative Medicine) to blend the best of both worlds – conventional and alternative medicine.
Mayo’s approach to hypnosis is evidence-based. Treatment recommendations are based on continuous research by Mayo physicians and scientists to identify the most effective therapies.
During hypnosis, patients can tap into and use their inner resources, make personal changes, and learn how to manage their lives more effectively. Hypnosis may be helpful when used for: behavior change (insomnia, substance abuse, phobias, sleepwalking), pain management (chronic and procedural pain, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), childbirth, fibromyalgia), hypertension and weight management. Hypnosis may also help improve immune function, increase relaxation, decrease stress and ease anxiety. The American Medical Association has recognized hypnosis as a valid medical treatment for certain conditions since 1958.”
With all of the publicly about hypnosis being used within the medical community (namely being shown on television and movies) it doesn’t surprise me that Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York actually conducted 20 individual studies on hypnosis and surgery. Here are the clinical results of those studies:
Standout scientific evidence: Doctors at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City analyzed 20 studies on hypnosis and surgical patients. In 89% of cases, surgical patients who were hypnotized had less pain, used less pain medication and recovered faster.
Do these results really surprise any of us? No they don’t. John Elliotson, the revered Professor of Practical Medicine at University College, London, and his protйgй James Esdaile, a medical officer for the British East India Company, each reported a large number of surgeries performed painlessly, with the mesmeric trance as the only anesthetic agent. Against the suspicion of deceit and self-delusion, Esdaile noted the simple fact that his patients referred their family and friends to his service. But he also had data of a harder kind: at a time when surgical mortality was about 40%, Esdaile’s death rate was reduced to only about 5% — an objective outcome that he plausibly attributed to the successful relief of pain with mesmerism. You read that correctly the term hypnosis had not yet been invented.
Hypnosis began returning to the operation room and into the doctors’ office after WWII where “battlefield hypnosis” had been widely used with great success. Clinical Medical Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy has been slowly gaining ground over the years. Physicians; however, aren’t trained to use hypnosis so they naturally turn to something that they are familiar with pharmaceutical drugs.
In the paper Hypnosis in Surgery: Efficacy, Specificity, and Utility by John F. Kihlstrom of the University of California, Berkeley and Institute for the Study of Healthcare Organizations & Transactions; Mr Kihlstrom wrote: “No phenomenon of hypnosis is more dramatic than analgesia, and none has more potential for clinical application. Nevertheless, hypnosis has had a hard time taking its rightful place in the standard of care for patients in pain.” The paper published in its entirety may be viewed at:
As we continue to move forward hypnotherapy and hypnosis is being accepted by the health insurance community. The insurance companies have studied hypnosis and hypnotherapy and the published results have show that on average a patient who is given hypnotherapy and hypnosis prior to a medical proceed that is administrated in a institutional setting (hospital) leaves the hospital on average of five days earlier than those who are not given hypnotherapy or hypnosis. Additionally, patients who under go hypnotherapy have fewer complications and use fewer medications than those patients that do not use hypnotherapy or hypnosis. On average the insurance company saves approximately $1500 per patient who has hypnotherapy or hypnosis prior to and during their stay in the hospital. $1500 dollars doesn’t sound like a lot but according to the American Hospital Association published report stated there are 37.529.270 admissions to hospitals in the United States each year. If the insurance companies could save $1500 per admission that would be a savings of $562,939,050,000 per year which is a huge savings to the public; however, it also represents a huge loss to the hospitals. If we work backwards and we look at how many individual hospital there are 951,045 registered hospitals in the United States. If we divide $562,939,050,000 by 951,045 we find that each hospital would lose on average of $591,916.31 of course smaller community hospitals would lose a smaller dollar amount; however, the percentage of loss remains consistent and this is a huge reduction in the operation budget of these institution. The complete study fact sheet may be found at:
In this article I have not addressed the reductions in the amount of prescription drugs that would not be needed because the patient was no longer in pain. As I continue to conduct research I have requested information from the American Hospital Association on the percentage of drug reduction that has been documented in these studies; however, I have not received a response. So together we have come full circle and returned to our original question: Why don’t more doctors, nurses, and hospitals use hypnosis or hypnotherapy. Why don’t more hospitals allow highly trained hypnotherapist to assist their patients. To be honest more and more hospitals are admitting hypnotherapist to practice in their institution; however many do not. Perhaps it is more of a question of survival. As insurance companies are demanding more Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) hospitals are slowly reacting. Acupuncture and massage therapist are being accepted by the medical community and welcomed into hospitals and I can see a very bright future for hypnotherapy becoming widely accepted not as physician competition but as a adjunct team member that has the ability to help the medical treatment become more effective.
Dr. David Newman, D. Sc., C. Ht. is a subconscious behaviorist,Certified Hypnotherapist, author, public speaker, and the director of RoseHeart Hypnotherapy Success Centers, Inc. RoseHeart Hypnotherapy Success Centers, Inc. websites are http://www.mohyp and http://www.imakewinners.com