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Scientific Research papers

Welcome to the New Zealand Association of Professional Hypnotherapists' research page, dedicated to showcasing the positive outcomes and efficacy of clinical hypnotherapy through various clinical trials. As an organisation committed to advancing the field of hypnotherapy, we believe it is crucial to provide a platform for sharing evidence-based research that supports the effectiveness of hypnotherapy in promoting positive change and improving overall well-being.

Clinical hypnotherapy is a powerful therapeutic approach that utilises the state of hypnosis to facilitate personal growth, manage psychological challenges, and alleviate various physical and emotional conditions. It offers a unique and holistic approach that targets the subconscious mind, allowing individuals to tap into their inner resources, overcome limitations, and enhance their quality of life.

On this page, we aim to collate a comprehensive collection of research papers, studies, and clinical trials conducted by esteemed professionals and researchers in the field of hypnotherapy. These rigorous investigations shed light on the remarkable benefits that hypnotherapy can offer across a wide range of areas, including but not limited to stress management, anxiety reduction, habit control, pain management, weight management, phobia treatment, and many more.

By sharing these research findings, our goal is to foster a deeper understanding of the scientific basis behind hypnotherapy and to promote its acceptance and integration within the broader healthcare community. We firmly believe that evidence-based research plays a crucial role in shaping the future of hypnotherapy and validating its effectiveness as a valuable therapeutic tool.

We encourage you to explore the collection of research papers available on this page and delve into the wealth of knowledge that exists within the field of clinical hypnotherapy. We hope that this compilation will serve as a valuable resource for practitioners, researchers, and individuals seeking reliable information and empirical evidence supporting the positive outcomes achieved through clinical hypnotherapy.

Join us in our endeavor to advance the field of hypnotherapy, elevate professional standards, and empower individuals to lead healthier, more fulfilling lives. Together, we can unlock the potential of hypnotherapy and create positive change within the realm of healthcare.

Medical Conditions
  1. Pain, Miscellaneous: Section 1

  2. Pain, Headache: Section 9

  3. Cancer: Section 15

  4. Cardiovascular Conditions: Section 19

  5. Hypertension and Stress: Section 22

  6. Respiratory Conditions: Section 28

  7. Strengthening the Immune System: Section 33

  8. Intestinal Conditions: Section 34

  9. Haemophilia: Section 38

  10. Surgery: Section 40

  11. Childbirth: Section 42

  12. Miscellaneous (Raynaud’s Disease, Warts, Pseudo-Seizures): Section 46

Psychological Conditions
  1. Anxiety: Section 50

  2. Phobic Reactions: Section 52

  3. Depression: Section 53

(This section was compiled by Susan Wood, June 2004)

Pain miscellaneous

1. Ernest Hilgard (1977) and coworkers: in extensive investigations, using experimental paradigms to induce pain (typically either a tourniquet cutting off the circulation to a limb or plunging the limb into cold water), they have demonstrated that various types of pain can be reduced by Hypnotically induced analgesia.

In these studies, 66% of the high susceptibility group, but only 13% of the lower and 17% of the medium susceptibility groups, were able to reduce their pain by 1/3 or more. Twenty-six percent of the high, 57% of the medium, and 31% of the low susceptibility groups were able to reduce their pain by 10-32% when compared to controls.

2. Experimentally induced pain, while undeniably noxious, is different from the experience of patients in the clinical setting. Whereas experimental pain is brief, undergone voluntarily, and can be terminated at any time by the subject, in the clinical setting, pain is often long-term, comes against the wishes of the individual and is usually experienced as being outside of personal control. Moreover, it is a part of a disease process that directly alters both physical and mental functioning.

Hilgard, E.R. (1982). "Hypnotic Susceptibility and Implications for Measurement." International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 30, 394-403.

3. In a neuro-chemical study of Hypnotic control of pain conducted by Domangue (1985), patients suffering arthritic pain showed a correlation among levels of pain, anxiety and depression. Anxiety and depression were inversely related to plasma norepinephrine levels. Depression was correlated with dopamine levels and negatively correlated with levels of serotonin and beta endorphin. Following Hypnotherapy, there were clinically and statistically significant decreases in depression, anxiety and pain, and increases in beta endorphin-like substances.

Domangue, B.B., Margolis, C.G., Lieberman, D. & Kaji, H. (1985). "Biochemical Correlates of Hypnoanalgesia in Arthritic Pain Patients." Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 46, 235-238.

4. The relationship between pain and endorphins is a complicated one. In his study, Guerra (1982) found that only particular forms of the beta endorphins found in peripheral blood during painful experience are associated with the Hypnotic response.

Guerra, G. & Guantieri, G. (1982). "Hypnosis and Plasmatic B-Endorphins," Paper presented at the International Society of Hypnosis, 9th International Congress of Hypnosis and Psychosomatic Medicine, Glasgow, Scotland.

5. Hilgard (1982) studied children with cancer. He found Hypnosis to be effective in reducing the pain and discomfort associated with repeated unpleasant medical inventions.

Hilgard, E.R. (1977). Divided Consciousness: Multiple Controls in Human Thought and Action. NY: John Wiley. 1977.

6. Stam (1986) reports that patients with chronic facial pain show a greater responsiveness to suggestion as measured by the Carleton University Responsiveness to Suggestion Scale (CURSS) than do normal controls. These patients had higher Hypnotic susceptibility scores than did controls, showing a high susceptibility score to be a good predictor of response to Hypnotic treatment among such patients.

Stam, H.J., McGrath, P.A., Brooke, R.I. & Cosier, F. (1986). "Hypnotizability and the Treatment of Chronic Facial Pain." International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 34, 182-191.

7. Domangue (1985) conducted a study of 19 patients with a variety of musculoskeletal disorders. He reported significant reductions of pain and dysphoria following Hypnosis. The reductions were associated with significant increases in plasma beta endorphin.

8. Barabasz and Barabasz (1989) studied sample of 20 patients with a variety of chronic pain syndromes. They utilized an Hypnotic technique known as Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy (REST). All of the patients were initially rated as having low Hypnotic susceptibility on the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale (SHSS). Following exposure to the training technique, the subjects demonstrated significant increases in both SHSS scores and in pain reduction when compared to controls.

Barabasz, A.J. & Barabasz, M. (1989). "Effects of Restricted Environmental Stimulation: Enhancement of Hypnotizability for Experimental and Chronic Pain Control." International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 37, 217- 231.


9. Evidence accumulated to date suggests that a number of Hypnotherapeutic approaches are highly effective in the treatment of patients with chronic migraine headaches. Although no one Hypnotherapeutic technique has been demonstrated to be most effective, all the methods appear to be superior to a standard treatment relying on pharmacological approaches alone.

10. In a study conducted by Anderson (1975), migraine patients treated with Hypnosis had a significant reduction in the number of attacks and in their severity compared to a control group who were treated with traditional medications. The difference did not become statistically significant until the second six-month follow-up period. In addition, at the end of one year, the number of patients in the Hypnosis group who had experienced no headaches for over three months was significantly higher.

Anderson, J.A., Basker, M.A. & Dalton, R. (1975). "Migraine and Hypnotherapy." International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 23, 48-58.

11. In a controlled trial conducted by Olness (1987), Self-Hypnosis was shown to be significantly more effective than either propranolol or placebo in reducing the frequency of migraine headaches in children between the ages of six and twelve years of age.

Olness, K., MacDonald, J.T. & Uden, D.L. (1987). "Comparison of Self-Hypnosis and Propranolol in the Treatment of Juvenile Classic Migraine." Pediatrics, 79, 593- 597.

12. In a research conducted by Schlutter (1980), Hypnosis was also found to effective in dealing with the relief of tension headache.

Schlutter, L.C., Golden, C.J. & Blume, H.G. (1980). "A Comparison of Treatments for Prefrontal Muscle Contraction Headache." British Journal of Medical Psychology, 53, 47-52.

13. Alladin (1988) reviewed the literature on Hypnosis, identifying fully a dozen different Hypnotic techniques that have been used in the treatment of chronic migraine headaches. Of these, Hypnotic training emphasizing relaxation, hand warming (which, according to Anderson, 1975) seems the simplest method of establishing increased voluntary control of the sensitive vasomotor system) and direct Hypnotic suggestions of symptom removal have all been shown to be effective in reducing the duration, intensity and frequency of migraine attacks during a ten-week treatment course and at thirteen-month follow-up when compared to controls.

Alladin, A. (1988). "Hypnosis in the Treatment of Severe Chronic Migraine. In M. Heap (ed.), Hypnosis: Current clinical, Experimental and Forensic Practices. London: Croom Helm. pp. 159-166.

14. A study (Gutfeld, G. and Rao, L., 1992) was conducted on 42 patients suffering from chronic headaches. These patients, all of whom had responded poorly to conventional treatments, were split into two groups. One received Hypnotherapy to relieve their daily headaches; the rest acted as a comparison group. The Hypnotherapy group experienced reduced frequency and duration of headaches, cutting the intensity by about 30%. "These results are impressive in such a difficult, hard-to-treat group of patients," commented Egilius Spierings, M.D., Ph.D. director of the headache section, division of neurology at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Gutfeld, G. and Rao, L. (1992). "Use of Hypnosis with Patients Suffering from Chronic Headaches, Seriously Resistant to Other Treatment," As reported in Prevention, 44, 24-25.


15. Speigel and Bloom (1983b) reported that a study of women with metastatic breast cancer showed that patients who received group therapy with training in Hypnosis over a one-year period were able to reduce their pain experience by 50% when compared to a control group.

Spiegel, D. & Bloom, J.R. (1983b). "Group therapy and Hypnosis Reduce Metastatic Breast Carcinoma Pain." Psychosomatic Medicine, 45, 333-339.

16. In addition, at a 10-year follow-up of these same women, the Hypnosis treatment group had a mean survival rate of 36.6 months compared to 18.9 months for the controls. This suggests that the intervention may be both important quantitative and important qualitative effects  (Spiegel 1989a).

Spiegel, D., Bloom, J.R., Kraemer, H.,C. & Gottheil, E. (1989a). "Effect of Psychosocial Treatment on Survival of Patients with Metatastic Breast Cancer." Lancet pp. 888-891.

17-18. Both adolescent and adult cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy were reported by Cotanch (1985) and by Zeltzer (1984), in separate research, to have fewer symptoms of anticipatory nausea and vomiting following Hypnotic interventions.

Cotanch, P., Hockenberry, M. & Herman, S. (1985). "Self-Hypnosis Antiemetic Therapy in Children Receiving Chemotherapy." Oncology Nursing Forum, 12, 41- 46.

Zeltzer, L., LeBaron, S. & Zeltzer, P.M. (1984). "The Effectiveness of Behavioral Intervention for Reduction of Nausea and Vomiting in Children and Adolescents Receiving Chemotherapy." Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2, 683-690.

Cardiovascular conditions

General pain Miscellaneous

19. In research by Bernardi (1982), hypertensive patients showed themselves to be significantly more effective at controlling cardiovascular responses to stressors in Hypnosis than they were in the normal waking state. This was particularly true for subjects with more marked Hypnotic ability.

Bernardi, L. Galezaai, L. & Bardelli, R. (1982). " Hypnotic Responsivity of Cold Pressor Test in Normal and Hypertensive Subjects," Paper presented at the International Society of Hypnosis, 9th International Congress of Hypnosis and Psychosomatic Medicine, Glasgow, Scotland.

20. In a study by Sletvold (1986), normotensive subjects were shown able to either increase or decrease their blood pressure significantly with Hypnosis.

Sletvold, H., Jensen, G.M. & Gotestam, K.G. (1986). "Blood Pressure Responses to Hypnotic and NonHypnotic Suggestions in Normotensive Subjects." Pavlovian Journal of Biological Science, 21, 32-35.

21. In a 1979 research study by Jackson, subjects with Hypnotic ability were shown to improve their aerobic performance significantly in response to post-Hypnotic suggestion. In addition, subjects with high Hypnotic susceptibility significantly improved their performance in physical exercise using post-Hypnotic suggestion.

Jackson, J.A., Gass, G.C. & Camp, E.M. (1979). "The Relationship Between PostHypnotic Suggestion and Endurance in Physically Trained Subjects." International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 27, 278-293.

Hypertension and stress

22. Kuttner (1988) found that a Hypnotic approach emphasizing storytelling and imagery was significantly more effective than behavioral techniques or standard medical practice in alleviating distress during bone marrow aspirations in young children with leukemia.

Kuttner, L. (1988). "Favorite Stories: A Hypnotic Pain-Reduction Technique for Children in acute Pain." American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 30, 289-295.

23. Hypertensive subjects were found to have characteristic patterns of increased cerebral blood flow that were most marked in the left hemisphere. During Hypnosis, they could reduce cerebral blood flow more dramatically than could normotensive controls. The changes noted in this research by Galeazzi (1982) were associated with decreases in vascular resistance and diastolic blood pressure in the rest of the body.

Galeazzi, L. & Bernardi, L. (1982). "Cerebral Rheographic Variations by Hypnosis," Paper presented at the International Society of Hypnosis, 9th International Congress of Hypnosis and Psychosomatic Medicine, Glasgow, Scotland.

24-25. Friedman and Taub (1977, 1978) reported the results of a trial comparing Hypnosis with biofeedback or a combination of both in essential hypertension. At the end of four weeks of treatment, all groups showed a significant reduction in blood pressure. But at six-month follow-up only the patients receiving Hypnosis had maintained the reduction.

Friedman, H. & Taub, H. (1977). "The Use of Hypnosis and Biofeedback Procedures for Essential Hypertension." International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 25, 335-347.

Friedman, H. & Taub, H. (1978). "A Six Month Follow-up of the Use of Hypnosis and Biofeedback Procedures in Essential Hypertension." American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 20, 184-188.

26-27. Generally speaking, literature review supports the value of Hypnosis in analgesia and stress reduction in a number of disorders, whether following the dissociative formulation (Miller, 1986) or a social psychology approach (Noland, 1987).

Miller, M.E. & Bowers, K.S. (1986). "Hypnotic Analgesia and Stress Inoculation in the Reduction of Pain." Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 95, 6-14.

Nolan, R.P. & Spanos, N.P. (1987). "Hypnotic Analgesia and Stress Inoculation: A Critical Reexamination of Miller and Bowers." Psychological Reports, 61, 95- 102.

Respiratory conditions

28-29. In studies by Maher-Loughnan (1962, 1970), Hypnosis was shown to alleviate the subjective distress of patients with asthma. This change was measured either by the number of attacks or the amount of medication that was needed when compared to supportive therapy.

Maher-Loughnan, G.P., MacDonald, N., Mason, A.A. & Fry, L. (1962). "Controlled Trial of Hypnosis in the Symptomatic Treatment of Asthma." British Medical Journal, 2, 371-376.

30. In further study by Maher-Loughnan (1970) asthmatic subjects were randomly assigned to either Hypnosis or relaxation therapy. The results showed both treatment modalities of benefit to the patients, but the improvement in the Hypnotherapy group was significantly greater. There was a peak of improvement between the seventh and twelfth weeks of treatment. In addition, only the Hypnotic subjects showed improvement in physiologic measures of respiration (forced expiratory volume).

Maher-Loughnan, G.P. (1970). "Hypnosis and AutoHypnosis for the Treatment of Asthma." International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 18, 1- 14.

31. Ewer and Stewart (1986) reported a randomized control trial of Hypnosis in patients with moderate asthma. Patients with a high Hypnotic susceptibility showed a 74.9% improvement in bronchial hyper-responsiveness (to methacholine challenge), a 5.5% increase in peak expiratory flow rate, a 26.2% decrease in the use of bronchodilator and a 41% improvement in daily ratings outside of the clinic. Twelve patients with a high Hypnotic susceptibility score showed a 75% improvement. However, a control group of 17 patients and a second group of 10 patients with a low level of Hypnotic susceptibility showed no change in either objective or subjective measures.

Ewer, T.C. & Stewart, D.E. (1986). "Improvement in Bronchial Hyper-responsiveness in Patients with Moderate Asthma after Treatment with a Hypnotic Technique: A Randomized Controlled Trial." British Medical Journal, 293, 1129-1132.

32. A study by Olness (1985) showed that children trained in self-Hypnosis could significantly alter their tissue levels of oxygen as measured by transcutaneous PO2 measures.

Olness, K. & Conroy, M. (1985). "A Pilot Study of Voluntary Control of Transcutaneous PO2 by Children." International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 33, 1-5.

Strengthening the immune system

33. Hypnosis strengthens the disease-fighting capacity of two types of immune cells, reports Patricia Ruzyla-Smith and her co-workers at Washington State University in Pullman. Thirty-three college students who achieved a Hypnotic trance easily and 32 students who had great difficulty doing so were recruited for the study. Students who underwent Hypnosis displayed larger jumps in two important classes of white blood cells than participants who received relaxation or no method. The greatest immune enhancement occurred among highly Hypnotizable students in the Hypnosis group.

Ruzyla-Smith, Patricia et al. (1993). As reported at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association.

Intesinal conditions

34-35. Whorwell (1984) reported successful treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome using Hypnosis in a controlled study of a group of patients who had a severe chronic form of the disorder and had not responded to conventional therapies. Patients were randomly allocated to either psychotherapy or Hypnotherapy groups. The psychotherapy patients showed a significant improvement in measures of pain, distension and in general well-being despite a lack of change in bowel habit. In contrast, the Hypnotherapy patients showed a dramatic improvement in all measures which persisted at a two-year follow-up. (Whorwell, 1987). Hypnotherapy, including suggestions for improved gastrointestinal function and pain reduction, was significantly better than Hypnosis for simple deep muscle relaxation.

Whorwell, P.J., Prior, A. & Faragher, E.B. (1984). "Controlled Trial of Hypnotherapy in the Treatment of Severe Refractory Irritable-Bowel Syndrome." Lancet, pp. 1232-1234.

Whorwell, P.J., Prior, A. & Colgan, S.M. (1987). "Hypnotherapy in Severe Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Further Experience." Gut, 28, 423-425.

36. Harvey (1989) reported a similar improvement following Hypnotherapy in 20 of the 33 patients with refractory Irritable Bowel Syndrome at three-month follow-up.

Harvey, R.F., Hinton, R.A., Gunary, R.M. & Barry, R.E. (1989). "Individual and Group Hypnotherapy in Treatment of Refractory Irritable Bowel Syndrome." Lancet, 
pp. 424-425.

37. Colgan (1988) reported a randomized trial of 30 patients with frequently relapsing duodenal ulcer disease. The subjects were treated for ten weeks with either Hypnotherapy or ranitidine or the drug alone. At a twelve-month follow-up, all of the drug-only patients, but only half of the drug-plus-Hypnotherapy patients, had relapsed.

Colgan, S.M., Faragher, E.B. & Whorwell, P.J. (1988). "Controlled Trial of Hypnotherapy in Relapse Prevention of Duodenal Ulceration." Lancet, 1299-1300.



38. Swirsky-Saccetti (1986) reported on research with hemophiliacs. Over an eighteen-week follow-up, a group of hemophiliac patients who were taught self-Hypnosis significantly reduced both their level of self-reported distress and the amount of the factor concentrate they required to control bleeding when compared with a control group of patients who did not undergo Hypnosis.

Swirsky-Saccetti, T. & Margolis, C.G. (1986). "The Effects of a Comprehensive Self- Hypnosis Training Program on the Use of Factor VIII in Severe Hemophilia." International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 34, 71-83.

39. A 30-month follow-up by LaBaw (1975) with hemophiliac patients demonstrated the effectiveness of group procedures for self-Hypnosis in reducing distress and the amount of blood products required when compared to control groups in patients ranging from five to forty-eight years of age.

LaBaw, W.L. (1975). "Auto-Hypnosis in Haemophilia." Printed in the Journal Haematologia, 9, 103-110.


40. Patients undergoing head and neck surgery who were trained with preoperative Hypnosis had significantly shorter postoperative hospitalizations than did matched controls (Rapkin, 1988).

Rapkin, D.A., Straubing, M., Singh, A. & Holroyd, J.C. (1988). "Guided Imagery and Hypnosis: Effect on Acute Recovery from Head and Neck Cancer Surgery," Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, Asheville, N.C.

41. Swedish researchers studied 50 women prior to surgery. Twenty-five of the women were assigned to the experimental group who were briefly Hypnotized each day for several days before their scheduled operations. Twenty-five were assigned to a control groups who were not Hypnotized. While in a Hypnotic state, the women in the experimental group heard suggestions to relax and feel hungry. After surgery only 10 had nausea (15 experienced no nausea), compared to 17 in the no-Hypnosis control group (8 experienced no nausea).

Lang, E.V.; Benotsch, Eric; Fick. L.J.; Lutgendorf, Susan; Berbaum, M.L.; Berbaum, K.S.; Logan, Henrietta; and Spiegel, David (2000). "Surgery: Complications and Treatment." Lancet, 355, 1486.



42. In 1963, Schwartz reported on a study in which Hypnotherapy was used successfully to prolong pregnancy and prevent premature delivery.

Schwartz, M. (1963). "The Cessation of Labor Using Hypnotic Techniques." American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 5, 211-213.

43-45. Omer (1986a, 1986b, 1987a) found that frequency of physical complaints and the general level of anxiety were correlated with premature labor and premature contractions. A brief technique emphasizing the use of self-Hypnosis was employed as an adjunct to pharmacological treatment. The prolongation of pregnancy was significantly higher for this group than for the medication-along control group, and infant weight was also significantly greater.

Omer, H., Elizur Y., Barnea, T., Friedlander, D. & Palti, Z. (1986a). "Psychological Variables and Premature Labour: A Possible Solution for Some Methodological Problems." Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 30, 559-565.

Omer, H., Friedlander, D. & Palti, Z. (1986b). "Hypnotic Relaxation in the Treatment of Premature Labor." Psychosomatic Medicine, 48, 351-361.

Omer, H. (1987). "A Hypnotic Relaxation Technique for the Treatment of Premature Labor." American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 29, 206-213.


Miscellaneous conditions

46. In a careful single-case controlled study of a patient with Raynaud's disease, Conn (1984) showed a rapid and dramatic vasodilatation in response to Hypnotic suggestion.

Conn, L. & Mott,k T. (1984). "Plethysmographic Demonstration of Rapid Vasodilation by Direct Suggestion: A Case of Raynaud's Disease Treated by Hypnosis." American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 26, 166-170.

47. In research reported by Spanos (1988), a pair of randomized, carefully designed studies were conducted with a group of people who had warts. Subjects who were given Hypnotic or nonHypnotic suggestions were significantly more likely to achieve wart regression than placebo or no-treatment groups.

Spanos, N.P., Stenstrom, R.j. & Johnston, J.C. (1988). "Hypnosis, Placebo and Suggestion in the Treatment of Warts." Psychosomatic Medicine, 50, 245- 260.

48-49. In a report by David Spiegel in the Harvard Mental Health Letter, the following research was cited:  a) Several controlled experiments have shown that Hypnosis can be effectively used to eliminate warts; and b) Studies have been done on persons suffering from pseudoseizures, in which they lose consciousness or motor control and make jerking movements typical of epilepsy (but without the associated brain damage). Such patients have been taught to limit or eliminate these symptoms by using Hypnosis. 

Spiegel, David, author. Report in the Harvard Mental Health Letter, September 1998, vol. 15, p. 5-6.


Psychological applications


50. In a report by David Spiegel in the Harvard Mental Health Letter, the research was cited that Hypnosis methods have been used successfully for anxiety associated with medical procedures.

Spiegel, David, author. Report in the Harvard Mental Health Letter, September 1998, vol. 15, p. 5-6.

51. Two hundred forty-one patients who were undergoing percutaneous vascular and renal procedures were randomly tested on three testing regimens, one of which was Hypnosis. Patients rated their pain and anxiety on 1-10 scales before, every 15 minutes during, and after the procedures. Pain remained flat over the duration of procedure time in the Hypnosis group; pain increased linearly with procedure time in both other groups. Anxiety decreased over time in all three groups; the sharpest decrease was in the group that was hypnotised. Procedure times were significantly shorter in the Hypnosis group. In addition, Hypnosis showed itself to be superior in improving hemodynamic stability.


Psychological applications

Phobic reactions

52. In a report by David Spiegel in the Harvard Mental Health Letter, the following research was cited: One seven-year study showed that 50% of patients afraid of flying were improved or cured after Hypnosis treatment for a fear of flying.

Spiegel, David, author. Report in the Harvard Mental Health Letter, September 1998, vol. 15, p. 5-6.


Psychological applications


53. In a neurochemical study of Hypnotic control of pain conducted by Domangue (1985), patients suffering arthritic pain showed a correlation among levels of pain, anxiety and depression. Anxiety and depression were inversely related to plasma norepinephrine levels. Depression was correlated with dopamine levels and negatively correlated with levels of serotonin and beta endorphin. Following Hypnotherapy, there were clinically and statistically significant decreases in depression, anxiety and pain, and increases in beta endorphin-like substances.

Domangue, B.B., Margolis, C.G., Lieberman, D. & Kaji, H. (1985). "Biochemical Correlates of Hypnoanalgesia in Arthritic Pain Patients." Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 46, 235-238.


Hypnotherapy outcomes

Please note that the research papers provided here are for informational purposes only and should not replace professional advice or guidance. For personalised hypnotherapy sessions or inquiries, we encourage you to reach out to our certified members who uphold the highest standards of professionalism and ethical conduct.

Thank you for visiting our research page, and we invite you to embark on this enlightening journey into the world of clinical hypnotherapy.

Healing burns

Effectiveness of medical hypnosis for pain reduction and faster wound healing in pediatric acute burn injury: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Chester, S.J., Stockton, K., De Young, A. et al. Effectiveness of medical hypnosis for pain reduction and faster wound healing in pediatric acute burn injury: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials 17, 223 (2016).

The University of Queensland's Child Health Research Centre (CHRC) analysed whether hypnotherapy decreased pain, anxiety, and stress for children undergoing potentially painful changes to their burns dressings.


UQ medical student and PhD candidate Stephen Chester conducted a randomised controlled trial at Brisbane's Lady Cilento Children's Hospital involving 62 burns patients aged between four and 16.The children were randomly assigned to either the hypnotherapy or standard care group, and measures of pain, anxiety, stress, and wound healing were taken at each dressing change," Mr Chester said.

"Children in the hypnotherapy group reported 70 per cent lower pain and 67 per cent lower anxiety scores on average, compared with those receiving standard care before their second dressing change.

"Before the third dressing change, the hypnotherapy group had 90 per cent lower pain and 84 per cent lower anxiety. These results are clinically significant."

Irritable bowel

Review article: gut-directed hypnotherapy in the management of irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease

Peters, S. L. 1; Muir, J. G. 1; Gibson, P. R. 1 Author Information


1Department of Gastroenterology, Central Clinical School, The Alfred Hospital, Monash University, Melbourne, Vic. Australia

Published online 10 April 2015.



To review the technique, mechanisms of action and evidence for efficacy, and to identify gaps in the understanding of gut-directed hypnotherapy as a treatment for IBS and IBD.Results

Gut-directed hypnotherapy is a clearly described technique. Its potential mechanisms of action on the brain-gut axis are multiple with evidence spanning psychological effects through to physiological gastrointestinal modifications. Six of seven randomised IBS studies reported a significant reduction (all P < 0.05) in overall gastrointestinal symptoms following treatment usually compared to supportive therapy only. Response rates amongst those who received gut-directed hypnotherapy ranged between 24% and 73%. Efficacy was maintained long-term in four of five studies. A therapeutic effect was also observed in the maintenance of clinical remission in patients with ulcerative colitis. Uncontrolled trials supported the efficacy and durability of gut-directed hypnotherapy in IBS. Gaps in understanding included to whom and when it should be applied, the paucity of adequately trained hypnotherapists, and the difficulties in designing well controlled-trials.




Gut-directed hypnotherapy has durable efficacy in patients with IBS and possibly ulcerative colitis. Whether it sits in the therapeutic arsenal as a primary and/or adjunctive therapy cannot be ascertained on the current evidence base. Further research into efficacy, mechanisms of action and predictors of response is required.


Peters SL, Muir JG, Gibson PR. Review article: gut-directed hypnotherapy in the management of irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics. 2015;41(11):1104–1115. doi: 10.1111/apt.13202.


Peters, S. L. , Muir, J. G. & Gibson, P. R. (2015). Review article: gut-directed hypnotherapy in the management of irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 41(11), 1104–1115. doi: 10.1111/apt.13202.


Peters, S., L., et al. "Review article: gut-directed hypnotherapy in the management of irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease". Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, vol. 41, no. 11, June 2015, pp. 1104–1115. doi: 10.1111/apt.13202.

30 years of research  has gone into Hypnotherapy and IBS.
Here is a peer reviewed one from 2015 covering 1000 patients

Also see this on the Manchester University website regarding the use of Skype:

Multiple research papers are available in this link from the IBS unit at Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester where there is a dedicated Hypnotherapy Unit.

A BMJ (highly regarded) one on non cardiac chest pain by Wythenshawe



Study 1: Hypnosis Superior to Breathing Exercises for Improving Asthma

Hypnosis for Asthma – A Controlled Trial


Study 2: Review of Studies Concludes that Hypnosis Helps Asthma Generally and Especially in Children

Hypnosis and Asthma: Critical Review


Study 3: Review of Studies – Hypnosis Can Help Asthma Symptoms and Helps Manage Emotional States the Exacerbate Airway ObstructionEvidence-Based Hypnotherapy for Asthma: A Critical Review


Study 4: Hypnosis Reduces Asthmatics’ Hospital Stays, Drug Side Effects and Need for Drugs; also Improves Condition Generally

Chronic Asthma and Improvement with Relaxation Induced by Hypnotherapy


Study 5: Hypnosis Helps Exercise-Induced Asthma

Hypnosis for Exercise-Induced Asthma


Study 6: Hypnosis Can Help Mild to Moderate Asthma Symptoms

Improvement in Bronchial Hyper-Responsiveness in Patient with Moderate Asthma after Treatment with a Hypnotic Technique: A Randomised Controlled Trial


Study 7: Hypnosis Helps Children with Asthma

Hypnotherapy in the treatment of bronchial asthma



AU  - Aronoff, G

AU  - Aronoff, S

AU  - Peck, L

PY  - 1975/07/01

SP  - 356

EP  - 62

N2  - The efficacy of hypnotherapy in aborting acute asthmatic attacks was studied in 17 children ranging in age from six to 17. All had as their primary diagnosis bronchial asthma. Prior to hypnotic induction pulmonary function was assessed, then monitored in the immediate post hypnotic period and at two intervals thereafter. The average improvement for all subjects was greater than 50% above the baseline measurement as documented by spirometry, monitored dyspnea, wheezing and subjective ratings by the subjects. It is suggested that hypnotherapy may be an important tool in ameliorating asthma, improving ventilatory capacity and promoting relaxation without recourse to pharmacologic agents. One explanation offered is that hypnosis affects an automic response, thereby diminishing bronchospasm.

T1  - Hypnotherapy in the treatment of bronchial asthma

VL  - 34

JO  - Annals of allergy

ER  - 

Sexual Abuse

Sexual issues; Support for recovery from rape and child abuse


Research paper


Spiegel, David. (1989). Hypnosis in the Treatment of Victims of Sexual Abuse. The Psychiatric clinics of North America. 12. 295-305. 10.1016/S0193-953X(18)30432-5. The relevance of hypnosis to the treatment of sexual assault derives from two sources: the fact that hypnotic phenomena are mobilized spontaneously as defenses during assault, becoming part of the syndrome of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the usefulness of formal hypnosis in treating PTSD. The role of dissociative defenses during and after traumatic experiences is reviewed; an analogy between the major elements of formally-induced hypnosis--absorption, dissociation, and suggestibility, and the major elements of PTSD--is drawn. Special problems relevant to sexual assault in childhood are discussed, including extreme self-blame and a profound sense of personality fragmentation. Uses of hypnosis in the treatment of sexual assault victims are reviewed, with an emphasis on helping such patients restructure their memories of the experience, both by reviewing them with greater control over their physical sense of comfort and safety and by balancing painful memories with recognition of their efforts to protect themselves or someone else who was endangered. The use of a split-screen technique in hypnosis is described with a clinical example. Special considerations in such treatment, including the traumatic transference and forensic complications of such psychotherapeutic work, are enumerated.

Alternative To Drug-Induced Sedation

Source:University Of Iowa Health Center
Hypnosis As An Alternative To Drug-Induced Sedation

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Hypnosis may conjure up images of swinging pendulums and people obeying strange commands to act like chickens, but a University of Iowa physician is studying hypnosis for a very different purpose: as a possible alternative for drug-induced sedation. 

Sebastian Schulz-Stubner, M.D., Ph.D., UI assistant professor of anesthesia, investigated whether clinical hypnosis could be used in place of sedating drugs to relax patients undergoing surgery with local or regional anesthesia. A local anesthetic numbs the body part undergoing surgery but, unlike a general anesthetic, the patient remains conscious. 

"One of the problems with local anesthesia is that the patient may be anxious or may not want to be aware of the procedure as it is happening. They often don't want to see or hear anything," Schulz-Stubner explained. "Rather than giving these patients sedating drugs to calm them or make them more relaxed, we used clinical hypnosis." 

In Schulz-Stubner's study, 48 patients undergoing surgery that required local anesthesia received clinical hypnosis in place of sedating drugs. The study was performed in Aachen University in Germany, where Schulz-Stubner was a physician prior to his move to the UI. 

The technique proved to be very successful under certain circumstances. In particular, all the patients undergoing elective surgery were successfully hypnotized and did not require sedating drugs. Prior to the surgery, these patients met with the anesthesiologist who explained the technique and familiarized the patient with the procedure. 

In contrast to these well-prepared and receptive patients, only two of 12 emergency cases who also were part of the study were successfully hypnotized. The instances where hypnotism was successful in emergency cases involved patients who were already familiar with similar relaxation methods such as yoga or auto-suggestive training. 

"If you carefully select patients who are suitable and you have some time to inform them about the method and maybe even perform a test hypnosis, it works with a high success rate," Schulz-Stubner said. "On the other hand, if someone is completely unfamiliar with the concept and is also under stress as in an emergency case, the hypnosis does not work." 

In addition to the importance of the patient being comfortable with and prepared for the hypnosis, a second important study finding was that a hypnosis-induced trance was only reliably sustained for about one hour. After that time the trance was easily disrupted. 

The induction technique used by Schulz-Stubner involves the patient first focusing on an object such as a pen or a finger. The patient is then told to concentrate on their own body sensations of warmth and heaviness of their limbs. As the patient relaxes, the physician uses suggestion to create a scenario that is appealing for the patient. 

"During the preparation session we ask the patient what they like and don't like to find out what kind of image would be suitable for them," Schulz-Stubner said. "You don't want to ask someone with hay-fever to imagine lying in a meadow." 

The physician continues to create and build on the scenario until the patient's reactions, such as breathing rate, indicate that an adequate state of hypnosis has been achieved. These same reactions allow the physician to monitor the hypnosis state and if there are changes, the physician can use more suggestion to reinforce the scenario and deepen the relaxation. 

"The term hypnosis often has negative associations," Schulz-Stubner said. "Many people associate hypnosis with being controlled by someone else and that is not what it is. In fact, the patient is actually doing the work; the anesthetist is just providing the suggestions on how to do it." 

One limitation of the technique is that the scenario has to be somewhat consistent with the physical realities of the operating room (OR). Too many noises or disturbances from activity in the OR will distract the patient. 

"It means that the OR team needs to be somewhat familiar with the technique and be willing and able to accommodate it," Schulz-Stubner said. 

Hypnosis itself is very safe and none of the patients who were hypnotized in the study experienced any side effects. However, hypnosis can trigger adverse effects in patients with certain psychoses, schizophrenia, and some substance abuse. People with these conditions were excluded from the study. 

Most patients who were hypnotized (80 percent) remembered nothing about the procedure. Ten percent remembered sensations of warmth or heaviness, the remaining 10 percent remembered images. 

In a large hospital like the UI Hospitals and Clinics, patients who might be good candidates to receive clinical hypnosis instead of sedating drugs during short elective surgeries fall somewhere in between the two patient groups in Schulz-Stubner's study. They would not be emergency cases, but because of the nature of outpatient practices, they would have to learn about and prepare for clinical hypnosis on the day of surgery. 

"There are some limitations here," Schulz-Stubner said. "In Germany, where the study was done, patients often stay in the hospital the evening before the procedure so they could be seen by the anesthesiologist at that time. It would be interesting to find out how the outpatient population that is more typical here would do with this technique with only a short interval to introduce them to the method prior to the surgery." 


University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at .

Editor's Note: The original news release can be found here.

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