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Hypnosis and Invasive Medical Procedures

A research study conducted at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center exploring the use of hypnosis for managing pain and anxiety during medical procedures in outpatient settings found that hypnosis provided more powerful anxiety relief than structured empathy without undue cost and is therefore an attractive treatment for outpatient pain management. The age of the individual seems to have little impact on the benefits of using hypnosis to relieve distress and pain associated with invasive medical procedures. Research done at Stanford University School of Medicine exploring the use of hypnosis to relieve distress in children undergoing voiding cystourethrography (VCUG), a commonly performed radiologic procedure in children that can be both painful and frightening, found significantly lower distress levels reported by the children undergoing hypnosis, their parents, and the medical personnel performing the procedure. The procedural time was also reduced by 14 minutes for the hypnosis group. Further, research conducted at the University of Iowa exploring the use of hypnosis for elderly patients undergoing invasive diagnostic and therapeutic peripheral vascular and renal interventions found that increasing age does not appear to mitigate the usefulness of hypnotic analgesia during invasive medical procedures.

  • Lutgendorf, S. K., Lang, E. V., Berbaum, K. S., et al. Effects of age on responsiveness to adjunct hypnotic analgesia during invasive medical procedures. Psychosom Med. 2007; 69(2):191-9. Department of Psychology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA.
  • Lang, E. V., Berbaum, K.S., Faintuch, S., et al. Adjunctive self-hypnotic relaxation for outpatient medical procedures: a prospective randomized trial with women undergoing large core breast biopsy. Pain. 2006; 126(1-3):155-64. Epub 2006 Sep 7. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School, Department of Radiology, Boston, MA, USA.
  • Butler, L. D., Symons, B. K., Henderson, S. L. et al. Hypnosis reduces distress and duration of an invasive medical procedure for children. Pediatrics. 2005; 115(1):77-85. Department of Psychiatry, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA.

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