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Medical Hypnosis: Empowering Patients and Enhancing Medical Practice

Medical Hypnosis

Table of Contents

Medical hypnosis can empower patients to access their inner resources, alleviate stress and anxiety, and accelerate the healing process. It’s a powerful tool for physicians to help their patients overcome chronic illness.

Dr. Daniel Kohen


In the fast-paced world of medicine where doctors are constantly dealing with patients under incredible pressure, it’s easy to forget about the impact of emotional stress on overall health. This is where medical hypnosis and cognitive hypnotic psychotherapy can provide tremendous benefits for doctors and their patients alike. These two approaches provide doctors with powerful tools to address emotional issues that are beyond the scope of traditional medical treatment.

Medical Hypnosis not only helps to reduce the symptoms of complex diseases, but it also aids in the prevention of many health issues. Doctors who learn hypnosis can integrate it into their practice to improve patient outcomes and increase patient satisfaction.

Researchers have shown that medical hypnosis effectively manages symptoms associated with chronic illness, such as pain, fatigue, and nausea. It helps patients regain a sense of control and improves their quality of life.

Dr. David Spiegel

What is Medical Hypnosis?

Medical hypnosis is a powerful technique used to treat both physical and psychological conditions. By leveraging the process of hypnosis, practitioners help clients become more receptive to positive suggestions and therapeutic interventions.

This safe and efficient tool is widely utilized to address a broad spectrum of medical conditions, including migraines, chronic pain, anxiety, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, and more.

During a medical hypnosis session, the hypnotherapist facilitates communication between the patient and their subconscious mind. This interaction enables the identification and resolution of underlying causes contributing to physical and psychological symptoms.

One of the key advantages of medical hypnosis is its non-invasive nature. It empowers patients by providing them with a sense of control over their medical condition, potentially reducing their dependence on medication and invasive procedures.

When used appropriately, medical hypnosis is a safe and effective complement to traditional medical treatments. It can help reduce the need for medication and ease the psychological burden of chronic illness.

Dr. Lesley Arnold

Existing research on effectiveness and Application of Medical Hypnosis

Medical hypnosis is an evidence-based practice that allows patients to tap into their subconscious mind to find solutions to their health challenges. It can be particularly effective for patients with chronic conditions who may feel powerless or hopeless.

Dr. Michael Yapko

Numerous studies have extensively investigated the efficacy of hypnosis in pain management, providing compelling evidence of its potential benefits across various conditions. Here are several notable findings that highlight the effectiveness of hypnosis:

  1. Chronic Low Back Pain: A study published in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis demonstrated that hypnosis effectively reduced pain, anxiety, and depression in patients suffering from chronic low back pain. This study is available at source link.
  2. Fibromyalgia: The American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis featured a study revealing that hypnosis effectively alleviated pain and fatigue in patients with fibromyalgia. You can find this study at source link.
  3. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): A review published in the journal Gut highlighted the effectiveness of hypnotherapy in reducing symptoms associated with IBS, such as abdominal pain and bloating. The review can be accessed at source link.
  4. Cancer-Related Pain: A meta-analysis published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology demonstrated that hypnosis was effective in reducing pain, anxiety, and depression in cancer patients. The meta-analysis is available at source link.
  5. Enhancing immune function: Studies have shown that hypnosis can reduce stress levels, promote relaxation, and positively impact immune markers such as cytokines and natural killer cells, leading to a strengthened immune response.
  6. Gastrointestinal disorders: Medical hypnosis has shown promise in managing conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and functional dyspepsia. It can alleviate symptoms such as abdominal pain, improve bowel movements, and enhance overall digestive function by addressing psychological aspects that contribute to GI disorders, such as stress, anxiety, and gut-brain interactions. You can find the research at source link.
  7. Chronic illness: Medical hypnosis offers a complementary approach to alleviate symptoms, manage pain, and enhance overall well-being for individuals with chronic illnesses. It can also facilitate psychological adjustment and coping mechanisms necessary for navigating daily life effectively. One of the research highlighting the effectiveness of medical hypnosis from chronic illness can be found at source link.
  8. Surgical procedures: Medical hypnosis has emerged as a valuable adjunctive therapy in enhancing surgical outcomes. By employing hypnosis techniques before, during, and after surgery, healthcare professionals can help patients manage pain, reduce anxiety, promote relaxation, and facilitate the healing process. Furthermore, studies show that hypnosis can contribute to a more positive surgical experience by alleviating preoperative stress and fostering a sense of empowerment and control.
  9. Psychosomatic issues: Beyond physical ailments, medical hypnosis can address psychosomatic issues that manifest as physical symptoms without an apparent medical cause. Conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and other somatic disorders often involve complex interactions between the mind and body. The meta-analysis is available at source link.

These findings are supported by additional research, including studies such as Elkins et al. (2007), Montgomery et al. (2002), Lang et al. (2006), Haanen et al. (1991), and Jensen et al. (2009). These studies further emphasize the positive effects of hypnosis in managing chronic pain across different populations and medical contexts. You can access these studies through their respective source links provided.

Doctors can utilise Medical Hypnosis as a means of helping their patients calm their nerves, cultivate positive attitudes, manage their pain, reduce nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy and much more. Patients who undergo Medical Hypnosis report a noticeable decrease in anxiety, as well as a sense of empowerment and control over their health.

Hypnotherapy can be a powerful tool for helping patients with chronic illnesses like cancer, arthritis, and heart disease. It can improve their quality of life, reduce their stress levels, and help them manage their symptoms more effectively.

Dr. Michael D. Yapko, Director of the Milton H. Erickson Foundation

FAQ on Medical Hypnosis

How Medical Hypnosis can help patients manage pain?

Hypnosis is a powerful tool in pain management, as it focuses on altering an individual’s perception and experience of pain. It works through the following mechanisms:

  1. Altered Perception: Hypnosis can change the way our brains perceive and process pain signals, effectively reducing the intensity of pain sensations. During a hypnotic trance, the brain may release endorphins, which are natural pain-relievers, and alter the neural pathways responsible for transmitting pain signals.
  2. Distraction and Disassociation: Hypnosis can help individuals shift their focus away from their pain by directing their attention to something else, such as a pleasant memory or a soothing image. This distraction allows the mind to disassociate from the pain, making it more manageable and less distressing.
  3. Changing Painful Thoughts and Beliefs: Hypnosis can help individuals identify and modify negative thoughts and beliefs related to their pain. By transforming these cognitive patterns, individuals may experience a reduction in pain intensity and develop an improved ability to cope with discomfort.
  4. Relaxation and Stress Reduction: Hypnosis often induces a state of deep relaxation, which can help reduce stress and anxiety commonly associated with chronic pain. This relaxation response leads to a decrease in muscle tension and an overall sense of well-being, which can contribute to pain reduction.
  5. Enhanced Coping Skills: Through hypnosis, individuals can learn new coping strategies and techniques to better manage their pain. This allows them to feel more in control of their pain experience, ultimately promoting increased self-efficacy and independence.

It’s important to note that the effectiveness of hypnosis for pain management varies from person to person, depending on factors such as the individual’s responsiveness to hypnosis and the nature of the pain being treated. However, many people find hypnosis to be a valuable and non-invasive approach to managing both acute and chronic pain.

How Medical Hypnosis can help patients overcome Chronic Illness and Psychosomatic Issues?

Hypnosis helps address these issues by targeting the subconscious mind and promoting changes in thoughts, emotions, beliefs, and behaviors that contribute to psychosomatic symptoms. Here’s how hypnosis can help:

Medical hypnosis
  1. Deep Relaxation: Hypnosis induces a state of profound relaxation, which can help alleviate stress and anxiety associated with psychosomatic issues and chronic illness. This relaxation response can lead to a decrease in muscle tension, lower blood pressure, and improved overall well-being.
  2. Stress reduction: Stress and anxiety are known to exacerbate gastrointestinal symptoms in many individuals. Hypnosis can help patients learn relaxation techniques and develop coping strategies to manage stress more effectively, leading to improved GI function and reduced symptoms.
  3. Pain management: Hypnosis has been shown to be effective in reducing pain associated with various psychosomatic issues, chronic illness and GI disorders, particularly IBS. By altering the perception of pain and increasing pain tolerance, patients can experience increased comfort and improved quality of life.
  4. Uncovering Emotional Roots and Addressing underlying psychological issues: Psychosomatic issues and chronic illness often have emotional roots that are buried in the subconscious mind. Hypnosis can help individuals access these underlying emotions, allowing them to process and resolve unresolved feelings that may be contributing to their physical symptoms.
  5. Cognitive Reframing: Hypnosis can help individuals reframe negative thoughts and beliefs related to their psychosomatic issues and chronic illness. By changing these cognitive patterns, individuals can develop healthier ways of thinking and behaving, which can lead to a reduction in physical symptoms.
  6. Behavioral modification: Hypnosis can help patients identify and change habits or behaviors that may contribute to their psychosomatic issues, chronic illness and GI symptoms. This can include addressing dietary habits, sleep patterns, and exercise routines.
  7. Improving gut-brain communication: The gut and brain are closely connected, and imbalances in this communication can lead to medical conditions. Hypnosis can help improve this communication by enhancing the patient’s awareness of their body and promoting relaxation.
  8. Suggestion and Visualization: During hypnosis, individuals are more receptive to positive suggestions. A trained hypnotherapist can use this heightened suggestibility to encourage new, healthier habits and behaviors, or to help individuals visualize themselves free from their psychosomatic symptoms and chronic issues. This process can create lasting changes in the subconscious mind that lead to symptom relief. Hypnosis can help patients cultivate positive expectations about their treatment, which can lead to better outcomes.
  9. Strengthening Mind-Body Connection: Hypnosis can help individuals develop a stronger mind-body connection, promoting increased self-awareness and enabling them to better understand and address the psychological factors contributing to their physical symptoms.
  10. Building Coping Skills: Hypnosis can teach individuals new coping strategies and techniques to better manage stress, anxiety, and other psychological factors that may contribute to psychosomatic issues or chronic medical conditions.
  11. Boosting Immune Function: Some research suggests that hypnosis may have a positive impact on the immune system, which could help individuals with chronic illnesses maintain better overall health. By reducing stress and promoting relaxation, hypnosis may help to strengthen the immune system’s response to illness.
  12. Enhancing Treatment Adherence: Hypnosis can help individuals improve their adherence to prescribed treatments and medications, which is crucial for managing chronic illnesses effectively. By addressing any subconscious barriers to adherence, hypnosis can promote greater commitment to the individual’s treatment plan.
  13. Enhancing energy levels: Hypnosis can be used to help patients visualize and experience increased energy levels, which can potentially lead to improvements in their day-to-day functioning.

How Medical Hypnosis can Enhance Surgical Recovery?

Hypnosis can play a significant role in enhancing surgical recovery by addressing various factors that contribute to the healing process. Here are some ways in which hypnosis can help improve post-surgical outcomes:

  1. Pre-surgical preparation: Hypnosis can be used before surgery to help patients mentally and emotionally prepare for the procedure. This may involve reducing anxiety, building confidence, and creating a positive mindset, which can contribute to a smoother surgical experience and better recovery outcomes.
  2. Pain management: One of the primary benefits of hypnosis in surgical recovery is its ability to help manage post-operative pain. Hypnotic suggestions can alter the perception of pain and increase pain tolerance, allowing patients to rely less on pain medications and experience a more comfortable recovery.
  3. Stress reduction: Surgery can be a stressful experience, and high levels of stress can hinder the body’s natural healing processes. Hypnosis can help patients relax and reduce stress levels, promoting a more conducive environment for recovery.
  4. Enhancing the immune system: Some research suggests that hypnosis can have a positive impact on the immune system, which plays a crucial role in surgical recovery. By reducing stress and promoting relaxation, hypnosis may help strengthen the immune response and support the body’s healing processes.
  5. Encouraging positive thoughts and beliefs: Hypnosis can help patients develop a more positive outlook on their surgical recovery, which can contribute to better healing outcomes. By addressing negative thoughts and beliefs surrounding the surgery, patients can feel more optimistic and confident in their body’s ability to heal.
  6. Promoting healthy behaviors: Hypnosis can help patients adopt healthy behaviors that support their recovery, such as following post-operative care instructions, adhering to medication regimens, and engaging in appropriate physical activities.
  7. Accelerating healing: Some studies have shown that hypnosis can help improve blood flow to surgical sites, which can contribute to faster healing and reduced swelling. Additionally, hypnosis may help patients experience better sleep, which is essential for optimal recovery.

Medical hypnosis can be particularly helpful for patients who have exhausted traditional medical treatments and are looking for alternative ways to manage their chronic illnesses.

Dr. Judith S. Luechauer, Psychologist and Hypnotherapist

What are the Benefits of medical hypnosis for patients?

  1. Non-Invasive and Drug-Free: Hypnosis is a natural, non-invasive approach to pain management, making it an attractive option for individuals who wish to avoid or reduce the use of pharmaceutical pain relievers.
  2. Customizable: Hypnotherapy can be tailored to address each individual’s unique pain experience, allowing the therapist to target specific issues contributing to the discomfort.
  3. Enhanced recovery: Medical hypnosis can promote faster healing and recovery by reducing stress and anxiety, improving sleep, and boosting the immune system.
  4. Improved sleep quality: Hypnosis can help patients who suffer from insomnia or disrupted sleep patterns, leading to better overall health and well-being.
  5. Better treatment adherence: Hypnosis can help patients develop a positive mindset and motivation, making it easier for them to follow their treatment plan and make necessary lifestyle changes.
  6. Reduced side effects: Hypnosis can help patients manage and reduce the side effects of medications and treatments, such as nausea, fatigue, and hot flashes.
  7. Long-Term Benefits: Hypnosis can provide long-lasting pain relief, with some studies showing continued benefits for up to six months post-treatment.
  8. Weight management: Medical hypnosis can help patients develop healthier eating habits and increase motivation to exercise, aiding in weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight.
  9. Improved emotional well-being: Medical hypnosis can help patients process and cope with the emotional challenges associated with their medical condition, leading to improved mental health and a better overall quality of life.

Medical hypnosis is not about taking control away from the patient, it’s about empowering them to take control of their thoughts and emotions.

Dr. Jordan Weiss, Psychiatrist and Hypnotherapist

What are the Benefits of medical hypnosis for doctors?

  1. Enhanced patient rapport: Medical hypnosis can help doctors build trust and rapport with their patients, leading to better communication and a stronger therapeutic relationship.
  2. Improved patient compliance: Hypnosis can increase patients’ motivation and willingness to follow treatment plans, reducing the need for repeated follow-ups and improving overall treatment outcomes.
  3. Enhanced patient rapport:  Hypnosis can help manage pain and reduce anxiety, potentially decreasing the need for prescription medications and reducing associated side-effects.
  4. Time-efficient: Medical hypnosis can help doctors address psychological factors that may be contributing to patients’ physical symptoms, potentially leading to faster and more efficient treatment.
  5. Holistic care: Integrating hypnosis into medical practice allows doctors to address both the physical and psychological aspects of patients’ well-being, promoting overall health and recovery.
  6. Cost-effective: Incorporating medical hypnosis into treatment plans can lead to fewer visits, reduced reliance on medication, and improved patient outcomes, potentially reducing overall healthcare costs.
  7. Increased patient satisfaction: Patients who experience the benefits of medical hypnosis may become more satisfied with their care and more likely to recommend the doctor to others.
  8. Professional development: Learning and practicing medical hypnosis allows doctors to expand their skillset and offer a wider range of services to their patients.
  9. Enhanced reputation: Offering medical hypnosis as part of a comprehensive treatment plan can differentiate a doctor’s practice and attract patients who are seeking a more holistic approach to their healthcare.
  10. Personal growth: Incorporating medical hypnosis into their practice can help doctors develop greater empathy, communication skills, and a deeper understanding of the mind-body connection, enhancing their overall professional growth and satisfaction.

By incorporating medical hypnosis into their practice, physicians can help patients overcome the psychological and emotional barriers that often accompany chronic illness. This can lead to improved treatment outcomes and a higher quality of life for patients.

Dr. Dabney Ewin

Note: It is important for doctors to receive proper training and certification in medical hypnosis to ensure they are providing safe and effective care to their patients.

Cognitive Hypnotic Psychotherapy and Medical Hypnosis

Cognitive hypnotic psychotherapy offers a structured, yet person-centric approach to therapy that helps patients address not only the physical body but also the mind and spirit, for a complete healing experienc.

The client is able to explore and overcome deep emotional and behavioural issues that may be the cause of psychosomatic aches, pains, allergies and chronic illness allong with teaching patients coping mechanisms for emotional stress that can improve overall health and well-being. This approach seeks a comprehensive understanding beyond symptoms to create memorable mind-body wellness experiences.

By incorporating hypnosis into the therapeutic process, CHP helps practitioners and doctors take the application of hypnosis to the next level in the following ways:

  1. Enhanced rapport building: CHP allows practitioners to establish a deeper connection with their clients, as hypnosis facilitates trust and openness. This stronger rapport can lead to more effective therapeutic interventions and better client outcomes.
  2. Accessing the subconscious mind: CHP focuses on a combination of traditional hypnosis and conversational Hypnosis that allows practitioners to bypass the critical and analytical conscious mind, enabling them to work directly with the subconscious mind even with clients who are uncomfortable with closing their eyes or clients who may has a tendecy to question the process.
  3. Targeted interventions: CHP enables practitioners to develop personalized therapeutic interventions based on each client’s unique needs and issues. By combining hypnosis with other psychotherapeutic techniques, practitioners can create tailored, powerful interventions for a wide range of issues.
  4. Accelerated progress: Since CHP integrates hypnosis with advanced therapeutic techniques, the practitioner can help clients reach the root of their problems faster, the overall therapeutic process can be significantly shortened. This allows clients to experience meaningful change more quickly, increasing client satisfaction and the likelihood of successful outcomes.
  5. Greater flexibility: The integrative nature of CHP allows practitioners to draw from a diverse set of therapeutic tools and techniques, making them more adaptable and versatile in their approach. This flexibility enables practitioners to address a wide range of client issues effectively.

In summary, Cognitive Hypnotic Psychotherapy enhances the application of hypnosis by integrating it with other therapeutic modalities, allowing practitioners to provide more targeted, efficient, and effective treatment for their clients. 


In conclusion, the benefits of hypnosis in medicine are becoming increasingly evident, and doctors who embrace this powerful tool can significantly enhance their practice and patient outcomes. By learning Cognitive Hypnotic Psychotherapy, doctors can effectively integrate hypnosis into their existing treatment plans, giving them the ability to address a wide range of issues, from pain management to emotional well-being.

As the medical field continues to evolve, it becomes essential for doctors to stay ahead of the curve and incorporate innovative methods into their practices. Cognitive Hypnotic Psychotherapy offers a unique opportunity to expand their skillset and provide their patients with a holistic approach to healing that goes beyond traditional medicine.

Don’t let the future of medicine pass you by – take the first step toward incorporating Cognitive Hypnotic Psychotherapy into your practice today. By embracing this powerful modality, you’ll be at the forefront of a new era in healthcare, where the integration of mind and body therapies becomes the standard of care. The time is now for doctors to unlock the full potential of hypnosis and enhance the lives of their patients, one mind at a time.