Hypnotherapy fits in as a perfect complementary add-on to the medical practitioner of today. A doctor can use it to remove the cravings of a diabetic or motivate him to do his walking regularly so that the medication being given will be more effective. A doctor can use hypnosis to reduce stress in a hypertensive to keep his blood pressure under control with his regular antihypertensive medication. A doctor can use hypnotherapy to reduce the pain in a cancer patient or to keep the side effects of chemotherapy to the minimum. A doctor can use hypnotherapy to make the patient visualize the radiation given to him for cancer being utilized to maximum effect. The uses are plenty and can be combined easily by a doctor to give the patient the best possible end result.
Here are a couple of examples of early doctors who have successfully used hypnosis in their medical practice:
Dr. James Esdail (MD 1808 – 1859)
In the 1800’s Dr. James Esdail reported performing a number of surgeries in Kolkata using hypnosis (then known as mesmerism). His claims were investigated by a committee on Sep 7, 1846 consisting of James Atkinson, Inspector-General of Hospitals, as chairman; Evelyn N. Gordon; D. Stewart, Presidency Surgeon; James Hulme; J. Jackson, Surgeon to the Native Hospital; A. Rodgers; W. B. O’Shaughnessy, M.D., F.R.S., secretary to the committee. Out of the seven patients followed up by the committee, 4 had absolutely no pain during surgery and in the remaining three there was doubt if there was pain or not.
Dr. John Elliotson MD (1791 – 1868)
Dr. John Elliotson is also known to have performed surgeries using hypnosis as anesthesia. In 1834, he was appointed as a physician to University College Hospital, London. Professor Elliotson’s application of hypnosis scandalized the hospital medical committee. He was asked to stop using hypnosis. Rather than abandoning his hypnotic techniques as instructed, he resigned his offices to pursue his hypnosis practice.
Various studies have been conducted on the efficacy of hypnotherapy. Here are a few of them:
The Power of Hypnosis: Psychology Today -Studies show that hypnosis can treat everything from chronic pain to poor study habits. By Deirdre Barrett, published on Jan 1, 2001 – last reviewed on Sep 2, 2010.
Surgery: Hypnosis given during surgical radiology not only diminishes patients’ pain and anxiety, but also shortens surgical time and reduces complications from procedure (Lancet 2000)
Cancer: In a study of 16 patients who normally experienced pre chemotherapy sickness (Nausea & Vomiting), hypnosis relieved the sickness in all of them (Oncology 2000)
Immunity: Hypnosis seems to significantly raise the activity of B Cells and T Cells, both key to immune response, in highly hypnotizable subjects (American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis 1995)
Smoking: 3000 smokers participated in study by American Lung Association for group hypnosis for stopping of smoking, 22% did not smoke for up to after one month (The International Journal of clinical and experimental hypnosis 2000)
Attention Deficient Disorder: Hypnosis is as effective as Ritalin in treating ADD in Children (Presented at American Psychological Association Meeting, 1999)
Pain: In 169 patients, self-hypnosis was largely successful in relieving chronic tension headaches (The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 2000)
Medical procedure in children: Paediatrics 2005- Hypnosis reduces distress and duration of an invasive medical procedure in children. David Spiegel Lisa D. Butler, Barbara K. Symons, Shelly L. Henderson, Linda D. Shortliffe.
Pain and Anxiety: American Psychological Association 2011 Hypnosis today – Hypnosis continues to show promise in reducing pain and soothing anxiety.
Miscellaneous: Western Journal of Med. 2001 Oct; 175(4): 269–272. PMCID: PMC1071579 – Hypnosis, can reduce anxiety, particularly that related to stressful situations, such as receiving chemotherapy. Hypnosis is also effective for insomnia. Hypnosis enhances the effects of cognitive behavioral therapy for conditions such as phobia, obesity, and anxiety.
The more I research these wonderful uses of hypnosis, the stronger my urge gets to synthesize these two fields, medicine and hypnosis. Being a medical practitioner myself, I have seen tremendous improvements in my clients who have had issues ranging from physical to emotional, mental to spiritual. We have worked with cancer, diabetes, blood pressure, infertility, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, fears, phobias, addictions, low confidence and many more.
It is my appeal to the medical professionals to adopt hypnotherapy in your medical practices and see the changes in the overall result of your treatment. More and more doctors are getting familiar with hypnosis these days. In the last century there were just 2-3 MDs who had written book in this field. Today there are many. And that’s a good sign.
-Dr Rupinder Singh Sodhi, Dr Sodhi’s Enhancers.