Merck Manual

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Hypnotherapy

By

Denise Millstine

, MD, Mayo Clinic

Last full review/revision Sep 2018| Content last modified Sep 2018
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Hypnotherapy, a type of mind-body medicine, is derived from western psychotherapeutic practice. Patients are put into an advanced state of relaxation and focused concentration to help them change their behavior and thus improve their health. They become absorbed and are relatively distracted from but not unconscious of their surroundings and the experiences they are undergoing. Some patients learn to hypnotize themselves.

Uses for Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy is used to treat pain syndromes, menopausal symptoms, phobias, and conversion disorders and has been used with some success to manage smoking cessation and weight loss. It can reduce pain and anxiety during medical procedures in adults and children. It may be useful in irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, asthma, and some skin disorders (eg, warts, psoriasis). It may help lower BP.

Hypnotherapy helps control nausea and vomiting (particularly anticipatory) related to chemotherapy and is useful in palliative cancer care. Some evidence suggests that hypnotherapy helps lessen anxiety and improve quality of life in patients with cancer.

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