Is hypnosis used medically, and is it approved?

Hypnosis used medically, instead of traditional anesthetic, is approved, and it is often very effective.

The British Government was the first to recognize hypnosis as a therapeutic tool in 1952, when they passed the Hypnotism Act. The American Medical Association (AMA) and the British Medical Association (BMA) both officially sanctioned the use of hypnosis in 1958, as did the American Psychiatric Association. The BMA, however, had been studying hypnosis since 1892, when they commissioned a team of doctors to evaluate hypnotherapy. They came to the conclusion then that found hypnosis to be genuine, and that it is “frequently effective in relieving pain, procuring sleep, and alleviating many functional ailments such as psycho-somatic complaints and anxiety disorders”. 1

Since them, the use of hypnosis for medical procedures, practiced by professionally responsible individuals, has grown substantially. Hospitals such as the Stanford University School of Medicine in San Francisco the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and Beth Israel Medical Center in Boston all not only use hypnosis, they actually teach it. And now that hypnosis is sanctioned by the AMA, many US insurers cover it for medical, dental and even for major surgery.

There are many medical advantages to using hypnosis over, or in conjunction with, traditional forms of anesthesia. Faster recovery is one of the prime advantages. Reduced bleeding and a reduced need for post-operative medication are also beneficial effects. Patients may also elect to use hypnosis over traditional anesthetic methods due to fear, occasionally the fear of not waking up from anesthetics, some to deal with other fears associated with surgery.

Dealing with pain, including dealing with post-surgical pain, is one of the most widely used medical forms of hypnosis. Patients report dramatic reduction in their pain levels, a much faster return to their normal lives, and sometimes dramatic reduced dependency on pain-killers with hypnotherapy.

Not as widely used, but highly effective in many cases, is hypnosis, or even self-hypnosis, as a replacement for anesthetic. In hypnosis, people are fully aware of what is going on around them, and those who have used hypnosis for surgery often report that it is an “odd feeling with things getting pushed around inside you”, but with no pain associated. 2

The medical uses of hypnosis are widely accepted and far reaching. A qualified hypnotherapist can guide you in determining whether hypnosis can help you with medical procedures, post-operative pain management or pre-procedure relaxation and the reduction of anxiety.

1. Needham F, Outterson T. Report of the committee appointed to investigate the nature of the phenomena of hypnotism. British Medical Journal. 1892 July 23;2(1647):190-1.

2. Dr John Butler “leading UK Hypno-anaesthetist undergos invasive surgery using self hypnosis in 2004.” (!)

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