ABC News about Medical Hypnosis

ABC News August 30, 2007 (video).


Surprising new study about your healthcare and hypnosis, no less. Claire Shipman brings us a new study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute which finds that patients undergoing breast cancer surgery who used hypnosis saw a real difference.

“You sort of feel like you’ve been rolled over by a mack truck when you wake up” (Helen Dorman).

For Helen Dorman, the pain of breast surgery was almost more than she could bear.

This, she’s been told, can make a difference. And, no, it’s not a new drug; it’s hypnosis. In fact, a new study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggests hypnosis might reduce more than just pain for women before and after breast cancer surgery.

“We found patients in our hypnosis treatment group had less pain. They had less nausea. They had less fatigue. And they were less emotionally upset, or less anxious. And so it really was a big win for the patients” (Guy Montgomery, PhD, Mount Sinai School of Medicine).

Hypnosis has a long history of being effective for pain, weight loss, and even cigarette cravings. Amazingly, medical hypnotherapy has even been used in place of traditional anesthesia. During this operation, a doctor completed skin grafting without any other anesthesia. His patient, a frail, middle-aged woman, was able to withstand the pain because she was effectively hypnotized.

“This was truly amazing. You cannot do this with anesthesia” (Doctor).

Interestingly, the hypnosis patients cut down their costs as well as their pain. Surgical costs were reduced by about $773 per patient, mainly due to the time savings. But most important for patients like Helen Dorman, hypnosis therapy seems to offer a ray of hope in the ongoing struggle with cancer.

“I have a wonderful life, a fabulous family, and I want to be here to become a very old breast cancer survivor” (Helen Dorman).

Now the obvious question so many people watching this are going to have. Would it work with other sorts of cancers, other surgeries? The author of this study will be looking at just that.

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