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Home / UK Hypnosis Blog / Hypnosis for surgery, pain, stress and much more!

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Just relax and go deeper into hypnosis… before your operation

Imagine that you’re lying in a hospital bed, minutes from being wheeled into the operating room for a long-awaited procedure.

All around you, machines are beeping and whirring, echoing your frenzied nerves.

Moments later, a nurse enters your room.

She informs you that you’ll be receiving a much lower dose of anaesthesia than previous patients.

To supplement this, you’ll be given a brief, 15-minute hypnosis session to help ease your pain.

What would you say?

You might be surprised to learn that in one randomised study, “brief hypnotic preparation was sufficient to produce a statistically significant reduction” in the use of anaesthetic drugs during surgical procedures.

Patients in the intervention group experienced less pain, nausea, fatigue, discomfort and emotional upset than those in the control.

As this was in America, these patients even saved $700 because they spent less time in the operating room!

The 2007 study appeared in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

But it is just one of the many fascinating studies on how hypnosis can be applied practically.

Since hypnosis was first recognised as an effective treatment by the British Medical Association (BMA) and American Medical Association (AMA) in the 1950s, thousands of experimental and clinical research studies have explored how it can be used, as well.

The range of conditions where it has shown to be useful is very broad.

One key use is to help patients in pain.

In 1999, the British Medical Journal published “Clinical Review: Hypnosis and Relaxation Therapies.”

This paper established hypnosis as an effective treatment for acute and chronic pain, as well as pain associated with the treatment of cancer.

The researchers also found evidence supporting hypnosis as a helpful treatment for symptoms associated with clinical conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome and asthma.

Help for anxious patients

Hypnosis can also be used to help patients who find their treatment stressful.

The University College London (UCL), for example, currently offers a 5-day course on Dental Hypnosis.

It is designed to teach dentists, hygienists, therapists and nurses how to manage patient “anxiety, phobic responses to treatment and fear concerning pain” using principles of this established method.

And research shows that hypnosis can help many psychosomatic clinical conditions.

These often distressing conditions are not “all in the mind”.

As the Centre for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders defines it, these are physical diseases “thought to be caused, or made worse, by mental factors”, including stress and anxiety. 
Conditions that could sometimes be psychosomatic include tension headaches, migraines, asthma, gastrointestinal complaints such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), eczema, hives andeven warts.

The research on IBS has now become so strong that the NHS now regards it as one of the recommended treatments for chronic (long-term) IBS.

Why might this be?

All these cases involve managing pain, anxiety, immune responses and other physiological symptoms affected by stress and the way we think about those symptoms.

Mind over Matter? The mind-body connection

Hypnosis helps bridge the mind-body connection.

It helps patients break negative thought patterns, and calm themselves during times of stress.

And this can have a physical effect.

The bridge between mind and body, between psychology and physiology is where hypnosis is king.

(In fact if you truly understand hypnosis, in the way we teach on our courses, you realise mind and body are NOT separate systems! Thoughts are physiological events in the body.)

There are still doubtless many other applications of hypnosis yet to be discovered (as well as many more I didn’t have the space to mention here!).

The good news is that the research is ongoing.

Stanford University’s Center on Stress and Health publishes new science on this topic annually.

Imagine using hypnotherapy to effectively strengthen the immune system during times of prolonged stress….

To treat insomnia in breast cancer patients…..

Or to help calm children during preparation for an invasive medical procedure.

These are just a few of the randomised studies currently being performed at Stanford’s Center on Stress and Health.

Learn how to use hypnosis yourself

In our Diploma course, you will learn how to apply hypnosis in similar ways, to help clients with pain, anxiety, stress and the multitude of physical conditions which are influenced by our thoughts and feelings.

In fact, you’ll even have the chance to explore how hypnosis can transform your own experience of pain.

Join us as we dig into the evidence for hypnosis and its potential to help treat countless disorders, phobias and health concerns.

The next course starts in April.

Find out more here.

Warm regards,


About the author | Mark R. Davis

Mark is a therapist, trainer, meditation teacher – and a leader in developing the integration of hypnosis with cognitive behavioural psychotherapy approaches. As Director and Principal of The UK College of Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy, he is at the forefront of evidence-based hypnotherapy training – and is also very involved in the the integration of yoga and non-dual philosophy into Western Psychotherapy.