Research in Hypnosis

For extensive studies demonstrating the positive outcome of Clinical Hypnotherapy, visit the research findings page at the Australian Hypnotherapist’s Association website, click here

Following are 2 studies:

1.Hypnosis has ‘real’ brain effect

Hypnosis has a “very real” effect that can be picked up on brain scans, say Hull University researchers.

An imaging study of hypnotised participants showed decreased activity in the parts of the brain linked with daydreaming or letting the mind wander.

The same brain patterns were absent in people who had the tests but who were not susceptible to being hypnotised.

One psychologist said the study backed the theory that hypnosis “primes” the brain to be open to suggestion.

Hypnosis is increasingly being used to help people stop smoking or lose weight and advisers recently recommended its use on the NHS to treat irritable bowel syndrome.

This shows that the changes were due to hypnosis and not just simple relaxation

Dr William McGeown, study leader

It is not the first time researchers have tried to use imaging studies to monitor brain activity in people under hypnosis.

But the Hull team said these had been done while people had been asked to carry out tasks, so it was not clear whether the changes in the brain were due to the act of doing the task or an effect of hypnosis.

In the latest study, the team first tested how people responded to hypnosis and selected 10 individuals who were “highly suggestible” and seven people who did not really respond to the technique other than becoming more relaxed.

The participants were asked to do a task under hypnosis, such as listening to non-existent music, but unknown to them the brain activity was being monitored in the rest periods in between tasks, the team reported in the journal Consciousness and Cognition.

Default mode

In the “highly suggestible” group there was decreased activity in the part of the brain involved in daydreaming or letting the mind wander – also known as the “default mode” network.

One suggestion of how hypnosis works, supported by the results, is that shutting off this activity leaves the brain free to concentrate on other tasks.

Study leader Dr William McGeown, a lecturer in the department of psychology, said the results were unequivocal because they only occurred in the highly suggestible subjects.

“This shows that the changes were due to hypnosis and not just simple relaxation. “Our study shows hypnosis is real.”

Dr Michael Heap, a clinical forensic psychologist based in Sheffield, said the experiment was unique in showing brain patterns supporting the theory that hypnosis works by “priming” the subject to respond more effectively to suggestions.

“Importantly the data confirm that relaxation is not a critical factor.

“The limited data from this experiment suggest that this pattern of activity then dissipates (at least to some extent) once the subjects start to engage in the suggestions that follow.”

But he said the small study, which needed repeating in other populations, did not prove that people being hypnotised were in an actual “trance”.

Story from BBC NEWS:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/health/8359170.stm

Published: 2009/11/16 00:19:32 GMT

© BBC MMX

 

2. Hypnotherapy ‘can help gut pain’

Greater use of hypnotherapy to ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome would help sufferers and might save money, says a gastroenterologist.

Dr Roland Valori, editor of Frontline Gastroenterology, said of the first 100 of his patients treated, symptoms improved significantly for nine in 10.

He said that although previous research has shown hypnotherapy is effective for IBS sufferers, it is not widely used.

This may be because doctors simply do not believe it works.

Widely ignored

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common gut problem which can cause abdominal pain, bloating, and sometimes diarrhoea or constipation.

Dr Valori, of Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, said the research evidence which shows that hypnotherapy could help sufferers of IBS was first published in the 1980s.

He thinks it has been widely ignored because many doctors find it hard to believe that it does work, or to comprehend how it could work.

It is pretty clear to me that it has an amazing effect

Dr Roland Valori, editor of Frontline Gastroenterology

He began referring IBS patients for hypnotherapy in the early 1990s and has found it to be highly effective.

“To be frank, I have never looked back,” he said.

He audited the first 100 cases he referred for hypnotherapy and found that the symptoms stopped completely in four in ten cases with typical IBS.

He says in a further five in 10 cases patients reported feeling more in control of their symptoms and were therefore much less troubled by them.

“It is pretty clear to me that it has an amazing effect,” he said.

“It seems to work particularly well on younger female patients with typical symptoms, and those who have only had IBS for a relatively short time.”

Powerful effect

He believes that it could work partly by helping to relax patients.

“Of the relaxation therapies available, hypnotherapy is the most powerful,” he said.

He also says that IBS patients often face difficult situations in their lives, and hypnotherapy can help them respond to these stresses in a less harmful way.

NHS guidelines allow doctors to refer IBS patients for hypnotherapy or other psychological therapies if medication is unsuccessful and the problem persists.

Dr Valori thinks that if hypnotherapy were used more widely it could possibly save the NHS money while improving patient care.

Dr Charlie Murray, Secretary of the British Gastroenterology Society, said: “There is no doubt that hypnotherapy is helpful for some patients, but it depends on the skill and experience of those practising it.

“But the degree to which it is effective is not well defined.

“I would support using it as one therapy, but it is no panacea.”

Story from BBC NEWS:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/health/8572818.stm

Published: 2010/03/18 00:49:08 GMT

© BBC MMX