About the Effectiveness of Hypnotherapy

Hypnosis Therapy Training in the USA - American School of Hypnosis

Is hypnotherapy effective?

Is hypnotherapy effective is a very common question every hypnotist answering a few times a day. There are a lot of speculations about the effectiveness of hypnosis and known hypnosis side effects. In this post, we’ll discuss how effective is hypnosis and why internal medicine physicians recommend hypnotherapy more and more often.

How effective is hypnosis

Despite solid evidence of myriad diseases and solid mechanistic data, hypnosis is underutilized by internists. Using hypnosis fulfills our promise to deliver evidence-based treatments that alleviate suffering from the slightest collateral damage, but there is a discrepancy between the benefits of hypnosis and the doctors who offer the treatment. Although hypnosis can appear in the medical curricula of academic strength centers such as Baylor, Harvard, Columbia, and Stanford, hypnosis training is rare even at these institutions. For this reason, a modern resurrection of the oldest Western form of psychotherapy should inspire internists to continue their education and offer medical hypnosis comprehensively.

Scientists about the effectiveness of hypnotherapy

Hypnosis and its myths and misconceptions have been around since the 18th century. These claims were refuted by the French Royal Academy of Sciences, and it was almost 100 years before the Scottish doctor James Braid first described a mental and suggestive theory of hypnosis as a physiological waking state.

The 2014 Division 30 definition of the American Psychological Association describes hypnosis as “a state of consciousness with focused attention and reduced peripheral awareness, characterized by an improved ability to respond to suggestions.” Longstanding empirical evidence shows that hypnosis affects cognition, symptoms, and habits recently explained by advanced diagnostic modalities such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Changes during hypnosis include decreased activity in the dorsal portion of the anterior cingulate cortex (a key component of the salience network) and connectivity between the prefrontal cortex and the islet (a pathway to mind-body control).

Augmented by data on neurotransmitter metabolism and genetics, the neurophysiological basis of hypnosis is no longer mysterious. Although our understanding of the mechanism of action of hypnosis is more solid than that of acetaminophen, this has not been enough to improve its use.

Skeptics describe hypnosis in 1 of 3 ways: dangerous mind control and ineffective sham or placebo. It is often seen as a loss of control and, therefore, dangerous, when in fact it is a powerful means of teaching patients how to control their mind and body. The ability to enter hypnosis, called Hypnotisablity, is a stable trait possessed by most people, which can be introduced or terminated by the patient.

It is not effective in the presence of conditions such as stroke or schizophrenia or disturbances in focused attention or language processing. Hypnosis is more powerful than placebo (although the patient expectation is a moderating factor), and the placebo effect is blocked by the administration of naloxone, while hypnotic analgesia is not.

The reviews on hypnosis for internal medicine subjects are impressive, with proven effectiveness for migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, and anxiety.

Hypnosis improves procedural pain and emotional distress and reduces drug use by up to 40%.

Patients need help to understand how Is hypnotherapy effective

In short, if hypnosis were a drug, it would be a standard treatment. Internists should prescribe hypnosis especially when it exceeds the current standard of care in safety and efficacy, as in the case of opioids and sedatives.

Patients have a strong appetite for controlling their symptoms; online hypnosis videos for anxiety and insomnia have 15 to 19 million views, and medical hypnosis is quite acceptable to patients.

But patients cannot be expected to differentiate between legitimate and manipulative sources of online hypnosis in the same way as if they were shopping for pills on the street. This modality of treatment is the responsibility of medicine, and our duty is to provide safe access. To do this, we must improve supply.

Formal training for medical service providers is provided by national societies such as the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH) and the Society of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis (SCEH). 

The Concepts of hypnotherapy

The training lasts 4 days and includes ethics and informed consent, as well as practical skills. Hospital accreditation for the privilege of hypnosis may be necessary: ​​if not, it is advisable to design one to include the formal training and guidance requirement. For institutional pioneers, individuals in hypnosis societies can provide guidance.

Hypnosis training includes tools to help our patients help themselves, which benefits all our patients, even outside of a formal session. Telling a patient, “Don’t think about purple elephants” will ensure they do.

Through the lens of hypnosis, we can see that even the common phrase “How bad is your pain” is full of negative associations. With all their ability to trust their doctor, patients internalize “You are in pain. Compare that with the phrase “Are you comfortable right now?” The patient scans their body for comfort rather than pain and, if discomfort is reported, can be tracked with the 0-10 scale. These subtle adjustments recognize comfort without harming the anticipated suffering. It is the curing art of medical sciences.

In addition, the qualified physician can practice self-hypnosis for the management of stress, insomnia or performance anxiety, thus avoiding drugs that dull their concentration. Our patients, colleagues, interns, and families will benefit.

Hypnosis research

Hypnosis research is funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), and researchers are making inroads into the genetic aspects of hypnosis and response to treatment and studying hypnosis for the management of pain for cancer and surgery, smoking cessation, and stress management in health care. Automation of hypnosis using recordings, web apps, and smart speakers is being tested to expand access to hypnosis interventions. From basic science to clinical efficacy to medical education, hypnosis research of all kinds is relevant to internal medicine.

How hypnosis works

Internists are the ambassadors of the evidence of how effective is hypnotherapy. Our broad education and field of activity maximize our effectiveness as healers, but we must not lose sight of what disease experiences: the human spirit. When the technique of hypnosis is properly illuminated, its role is welcomed and respected by our patients. You will benefit from less pain, anxiety, insomnia, habits like smoking, and the side effects that accompany many pharmacological treatments. We will get the satisfaction of being able to respond adroitly to the best evidence for safer treatments and perhaps sleep better. This is a call to action for the wider use of hypnosis treatment – with intrepid internists at the helm.


Hypnotherapy is a great method of treatment when performed by a trained professional. While in many states there are no license regulations for hypnosis many people advertise themselves as hypnotists and propose their services.

Remember that hypnosis is a medical procedure and only medical professionals, trained in clinical hypnosis may practice this method. Don’t allow imposters to make changes in your subconscious mind.

For professional clinical hypnosis contact Philadelphia Holistic Clinic and schedule an appointment for evaluation and treatment with Dr. Tsan.

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