Highly susceptible Gruzelier and his colleagues studied brain activity using an fMRI while subjects completed a standard cognitive exercise, called the Stroop task. The team screened subjects before the study and chose 12 that were highly susceptible to hypnosis and 12 with low susceptibility.
They all completed the task in the fMRI under normal conditions and then again under hypnosis. Throughout the study, both groups were consistent in their task results, achieving similar scores regardless of their mental state. During their first task session, before hypnosis, there were no significant differences in brain activity between the groups. But under hypnosis, Gruzelier found that the highly susceptible subjects showed significantly more brain activity in the anterior cingulate gyrus than the weakly susceptible subjects.
Clinical Hypnosis -
This area of the brain has been shown to respond to errors and evaluate emotional outcomes. The highly susceptible group also showed much greater brain activity on the left side of the prefrontal cortex than the weakly susceptible group. This is an area involved with higher level cognitive processing and behaviour. But while their art is seen by many as a form of entertainment, new research suggests that, medically, there may be a serious role for hypnosis.
Using functional magnetic resonance imaging fMRI a team of neuroscientists at the University of Pittsburgh have seen hypnosis actually working on the brain. In a study to be published this year, a group of patients with the painful rheumatic condition fibromyalgia were hypnotised to imagine a dial controlling their pain levels. During hypnosis patients enter a trance-like state in which the conscious mind is bypassed.
A common approach is to use music to soothe patients, then to talk them through memories of a favourite place; all other information is blocked out. Such an approach obviates the need for general anaesthetic, and so may reduce bleeding, postoperative recovery time, as well as potential side-effects of anaesthesia.
When Kathleen Duff, a former nurse, had a cystoscopy she opted for hypnosedation, having tried it for a minor hand operation. I had very little bleeding, and none of that muzzy feeling you get after an anaesthetic. Anaesthetists at the Liege Hospital, Belgium, have use hypnosedation for more than a decade in more than 4, operations. Research there shows that patients undergoing thyroid surgery who had hypnosedation needed less pain relief during surgery than those who had general anaesthesia and were able to return to work within ten days, compared with an average of 36 for anaesthetised patients.
Dr Jean Joris, a consultant anaesthetist, says the technique not only improves recovery time, but also reduces bleeding and inflammation. He says hypnosedation can be useful for patients who have had a bad experience with general anaesthesia. One such patient was told to imagine he was on a beach. We can tell when patients are under by the horizontal eye movements and decrease in the heart rate and blood pressure. The face muscles also relax. When we want them to come out of the trance we ask them to move their hand or foot gently and they gradually relocate themselves.
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Hypnosedation has yet to take off in the UK. Or, maybe you were driving on the freeway and started to daydream and went past your exit and wondered where you were? Sound complicated? Not to Hadley. That form of hypnosis is gaining momentum and being accepted as part of the evolution of our health care system.
In Hadley developed the Palo Alto School of Hypnotherapy which offers training in professional hypnotherapy. This is her 20th anniversary of being in business, and her course has been approved by the State of California and the Department of Secondary Education for 20 years. Her first class had 20 students. The six-week course she teaches now is approved by the National Board for Hypno-anesthesiology.
For more than 20 years, Hadley has helped clients with stress reduction, weight control, smoking cessation, phobias and improving athletic performance through hypnosis.
Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy With Children
But new challenges are presented every day. During those 20 years she has specialized in pain control and preparation for pre- and post-surgical procedures at El Camino and Stanford hospitals. Hadley is the director of the California Institute for Medical Hypnosis. Hadley explained that prior to surgery, hypnosis can reduce fear, anxiety and tension and increase confidence by developing a positive state of mind.
John, a volunteer in one of her seminars, was facing a four-hour surgery for prostate cancer and was eager to learn techniques for controlling pain, minimizing bleeding and hastening his recovery. Several students worked with John to decrease his anxiety and fear of the operation. After the seminar he reported feeling calm, positive and empowered.
Several days after surgery, John called the instructor to describe his experiences.
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He reported feeling no fear or anxiety whatsoever as he went into the operating room. He used the hypnotic techniques learned at the seminar to minimize bleeding and discomfort. Hadley has trained nurses to use specialized hypnotic techniques for pain control, pre- and post-surgery anxiety reduction and relaxation for patients. In the medical hypnosis course, the students do field trips to hospitals and medical centers and offer their services for no charge.
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For more information, call Spencer, Ph. The researchers randomly assigned patients treated in a radiology unity at a university hospital to one of three groups: standard treatment, structured attention, and hypnosis or self-hypnotic relaxation. The standard treatment group received care typical for the hospital, i.
In both the structured attention and hypnosis groups, a specially trained member of the procedure room team attentively responded to patient comments and concerns, carefully avoiding statements or questions that could upset the patient e. The hypnosis group also listened to a script during the procedure that instructed them to roll their eyes upwards and close them, breathe deeply, and concentrate on the sensation of floating. All interactions were videotaped to make sure protocol was followed.
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Patients rated their pain and anxiety before surgery and every 15 minutes during it, according to a standardized pain scale. They were given a button to alert the attending nurse whenever they wanted medication for pain or anxiety. In only a few cases did medical personnel override patient drug requests, such as when blood pressure fell below or exceeded desirable levels.
Results encouraging. The researchers- Elvira Lang, M. Procedures in the hypnosis group needed less time to complete than those in the attention group, and even less time than those in the standard group. Patients in the hypnosis group used less than half the amount of drugs as the standard treatment group and about the same as the attention group.
After an hour of procedure time, pain and anxiety were lowest in the hypnosis group, in between in the attention group, and highest in the standard group, regardless of the amount of drugs given. According to a separate analysis of the data, using hypnosis reduced the cost of I.
In addition, hypnosis cut procedure room time by 17 minutes, even though the self hypnotic relaxation technique itself required 10 minutes to administer. In addition, hypnosis had a long-lasting effect on pain and anxiety; study researchers observed that even four hours after the start of the procedure, hypnotized patients were doing much better. And the longer the procedure lasted, the greater the difference was between the standard care and hypnosis groups.
This study did verify that hypnosis might be used for procedures that cause pain and anxiety such as angioplasties, colonoscopies, and MRI. Self-hypnotic relaxation brings a safe and cost-saving protocol to the hospital procedure regimen. Submitted by Anne H. Editors note: Dr. Anne H.