Many people recognize the potential benefits of using hypnosis for stress management. Some even know or have used hypnosis to stop smoking, eliminate phobias or lose weight. However, few understand or have benefited from its uses in the medical arena.

A current review of The National Library of Medicine, also know as PubMed, uncovered over 10,000 articles concerning medical hypnosis. The documented effective uses of hypnosis in medicine are wide-ranging, and include, hypnosis for: Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Hypertension, non-pharmacological anesthesia, Tinnitus, Pain Relief, Anxiety and Panic disorders, Asthma, Insomnia, Enuresis, Cancer, AIDS, Hepatitis C, and Diabetes.

Here are just some of the research findings:
** Over a six-year period, 173 patients suffering from asthma were treated using self-hypnosis. 82% were either much improved or experienced total symptom remission. (British Journal of Medicine, 23:447-55.)
**In a study of 189 people with psychological issues relating to sex, it was proven that self-hypnosis combined with cognitive therapy was more effective than cognitive therapy alone. Hypnotized patients required fewer sessions, had less frequent relapse and expressed greater satisfaction with the outcome. (Australian Journal of Clinical Hypnotherapy & Hypnosis, 1998: Sep., vol. 19(2):41-48.)
** Fibromyalgia patients assigned to a 12-week program of hypnotherapy showed significantly better outcomes with respect to pain management, waking fatigue, sleep pattern and overall health assessment than patients receiving physical therapy. ( Journal of Rheumatology, 18 (1), 72-75.)
So how exactly does hypnosis help with medical conditions?

An abstract of one study listed on offers some important clues. Elvira V. Lang, M.D., and Noami M. Halsey are currently conducting research into the usefulness of hypnosis for lowering distress in patients receiving invasive medical procedures. In particular, their study hypothesizes: patients who learn self-hypnosis while undergoing fibroid, renal or hepatic tumor removal will experience less psychological or physical distress and will learn coping skills that will benefit them in the event of future tumor removals. In other words, just learning to relax helps a client be less traumatized during medical procedures. Personally, I have yet to see a client who was not thrilled with the results of a pre-surgery or pre-medical procedure hypnosis session.

Furthermore, better stress management learned in hypnosis training has been linked to faster healing in many studies. The reason? Most seasoned hypnotists know to use a suggestion like: “Your doctors are amazed at how quickly you’re healing!” It’s always fun to get calls from clients who say, “It happened just like you said it was going to!!”

My work, using hypnosis for Type II Diabetes, is patterned after work by my mentors, Devin Hastings and Melissa Roth. Devin teaches a “Motivational Coaching for Diabetics” workshop ( Melissa has conducted her own research for IBS and Fibromyalgia ( Both of these excellent hypnosis researchers agree that one of the keys to helping clients recover from a chronic physical condition is to instill in them the belief that THEY are in charge of their own health. Self-empowerment is the ultimate healing tool, in my opinion. I KNOW the client is well on their way to turning their healing around when I hear them say something like: “I realize that no one can FIX my health but me.”

Closely aligned with empowerment, is the idea of releasing fear and denial. You don’t want a client with a chronic condition constantly obsessing about complications, but you don’t want them to bury their heads in the sand and pretend there’s nothing wrong either. I actually like to have clients walk down each road in their minds: the one called “Denial,” the one called “Fear,” and the one called “Healing.” The insights they gain about themselves have been amazing.

Another important role that hypnosis plays in correcting chronic illness is to motivate clients to make important lifestyle changes, such as improving their nutrition, getting the right type and quantity of exercise, and eliminating other bad habits, like excessive worry. If I had a dollar for every client who came in and said, “I KNOW what to do to lose weight I just can’t seem to make myself do it,” I could retire!! Just getting a client to accept the suggestions: “You LOVE eating green vegetables and drinking plenty of pure, fresh water,” will go a long way to helping them achieve greater health, regardless of why they came.

Of course, a natural by-product of any hypnosis session is improved sleep. I always tell clients that an hour of hypnosis is like eight hours of deep sleep because hypnotic trance takes them into REM sleep. Most say the experience is the most relaxed they have been in a long time. The body naturally heals faster when it is given enough rest.

Finally, hypnosis helps chronically ill clients, step out of their former way of being to imagine their lives another way. Think about it, if all you’ve ever known is “SICK AND TIRED,” it can be pretty invigorating to feel energized in trance. One step up from that is to have clients release extra endorphins or seratonin into their own systems by learning to control their own minds. It has always amazed me that anyone would buy an antidepressant, when the subconscious mind controls the release of natural antidepressants in the human body. I like to tell my anxious clients that they make great hypnosis subjects because they have excellent imaginations. It’s just that they are used to imagining the worst-case scenario. Hypnosis teaches them to imagine a positive outcome.

Let’s review the benefits of hypnosis for medical treatment: (1) relaxation training, (2) self empowerment (3) releasing negative emotions, especially fear and denial (4) motivation to make lifestyle changes (5) improved sleep (6) imagine positive outcomes. With all these benefits, is it any wonder many in the medical profession are now calling “mind medicine” the wave of the future?

Author's Bio: 

Kathy Moore is the owner of Moore Inspirations, a motivational consulting and hypnosis firm in San Antonio, Texas. MI is part of San Antonio’s Wellness Center, a group of independent holistic wellness practitioners working toward the common goal of empowering their clients to take charge of their own health. Kathy may be reached at (210) 735-6766. Feel free to visit her website at