Hypnosis is essentially a self-help skill. When I offer hypnosis for medical support, I am offering clients help in using their own healing ability. Simply, this happens through the power of our minds to affect the functioning of our bodies.
A quick Google search for “hypnosis with surgery” brought up a meta-analysis from 2002, by GH Montgomery et al. “The results indicated that patients in hypnosis treatment groups had better clinical outcomes than 89% of patients in control groups. These data strongly support the use of hypnosis with surgical patients.”
The same Google search brought up a wonderful editorial, The Mind Prepared: Hypnosis in Surgery, by David Spiegel of the Stanford University School of Medicine, published in 2007 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. In it, Spiegel describes work done with cancer patients whose preparation for procedures included hypnosis. He says, “adjunctive hypnosis substantially reduces pain and anxiety during surgical procedures while decreasing medication use, procedure time, and cost. If a drug were to do that, everyone would by now be using it.”
In a group of women undergoing breast biopsy or lumpectomy, a 15-minute pre-procedure hypnosis session “was sufficient to produce a statistically significant reduction in the use of propofol and lidocaine; yet despite this, patients in the intervention group reported less pain, nausea, fatigue, discomfort, and emotional upset [emphasis added] than did patients in the control group.”
In addition to the hypnotized patients’ better experience, “the use of hypnosis also resulted in a cost savings of $772.71 per patient, due largely to shorter time in the operating room—an average of 10.6 minutes. [emphasis added]”
With these results, why isn’t everyone using hypnosis? It’s a good question, isn’t it, especially now that science is documenting some of the benefits hypnosis can bring.