December 6, 2023

Does Hypnotherapy Really Work?

Hypnotherapists are becoming increasingly mainstream

Hypnotherapy as an Effective Treatment:

Research has demonstrated the effectiveness of hypnotherapy in treating various ailments, including stress, anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic pain, and addiction issues, without significant side effects.

Hypnotherapy's Recognition and Endorsement:

Hypnosis is no longer considered a complementary therapy but is now widely recognized as a useful tool for treating depression, anxiety, phobias, weight loss, smoking cessation, and behavior modification.

The American Psychological Association (APA) now endorses hypnotherapy as a treatment for pain, anxiety, mood disorders, and breaking bad habits like smoking.

Methods of Hypnotherapy:

Hypnotherapy involves methods intended for profound relaxation and concentration to promote receptivity to hypnotic cues. Affirmations can help clients manage pain and alter harmful thought patterns.

Conditions Treated with Hypnotherapy:

  • Pain: Volunteers under hypnosis can tolerate unpleasant stimuli better, and it can block pain signals and reduce brain activity linked to emotional and behavioral reactions. Hypnosis can reduce labor and delivery pain more effectively than conventional medical care.
  • Gastrointestinal Disorders: Hypnosis has been shown to successfully lessen pain perception in children with gastrointestinal disorders.
  • Dermatology: Hypnosis is being explored as a treatment for skin conditions, such as reducing scratching habits and promoting healing when combined with biofeedback and meditation.
  • Depression and Anxiety: Hypnotherapy can alleviate symptoms and reframe challenging circumstances, offering an alternative to psychological interventions targeting distorted cognition.
  • Stress: Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) in conjunction with hypnosis enhance stress management interventions, presenting an intriguing area of study.
  • Surgery: Hypnotherapy can benefit patients receiving cancer treatment by reducing pre-op distress, anxiety, and postoperative pain, leading to faster anesthesia recovery and increased patient comfort.

Safety and Self-Hypnosis:

Hypnotherapy is considered a safe procedure when administered by qualified professionals. Recent research suggests that self-hypnosis can be as useful as guided hypnosis for treating conditions like irritable bowel syndrome.


Hypnosis is increasingly recognized as a valuable tool in treating various psychological and physiological conditions. It can be integrated into mental health professionals' toolkit to assist patients with previously incurable ailments.


 Alladin, A. (2012). Cognitive hypnotherapy: A new vision and
strategy for research and practice. American Journal of Clinical
Hypnosis, 54(4), 249–262.
 American Psychological Association. (2020). Hypnosis. Retrieved
January 4, 2021, from https://www.apa.org/topics/hypnosis
 Barabasz, M. (2007). Efficacy of hypnotherapy in the treatment of
eating disorders. International Journal of Clinical and
Experimental Hypnosis, 55(3), 318–335.
 Barnes, J., McRobbie, H., Dong, C. Y., Walker, N., & Hartmann-
Boyce, J. (2019). Hypnotherapy for smoking
cessation. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 6(6).
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Overdose
death maps. Retrieved January 4, 2021, from
 Chamine, I., Atchley, R., & Oken, B. S. (2018). Hypnosis
intervention effects on sleep outcomes: A systematic
review. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 14(2), 271–283.
 Faymonville, M. E., Boly, M., & Laureys, S. (2006). Functional
neuroanatomy of the hypnotic state. Journal of Physiology-
Paris, 99(4–6), 463–469.

Does Hypnotherapy Really Work?
Tracy Moane


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