The most frequently asked question of Hypnotists and Hypnotherapists is, “Does hypnosis really work?” Hypnosis has been around for centuries. It has gained more attention lately for a number of reasons, including the fact that more people are seeking alternative remedies to help reduce health care costs or reduce their prescription medication intake. Let’s put some facts on the table.
The success rate for smoking cessation using hypnosis is 90.6%. A study of 71 smokers showed that after a two-year follow up, patients who stopped smoking using hypnosis were twice as likely to remain smoke-free than those who quit on their own (Guided health imagery for smoking cessation and long-term abstinence.Wynd, CA. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 2005; 37:3, pages 245-250).
A study of 60 women that were at least 20% overweight who underwent hypnosis including ego-strengthening, decision making, and motivation lost an average of 17 pounds where the control group only lost an average of 0.5 pounds in the same investigation period. At 8-month and 2-year follow ups, the hypnosis subjects were found to have continued to lose significant weight while those in the control group showed little further change. Not only did those who used hypnosis lose more weight, but more than 90% maintained the weight loss 2 years after treatment (Cochrane, Gordon; Friesen, J. (1986). Hypnotherapy in weight loss treatment. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 54, 489-492).
More than 1400 patients undergoing surgery have used hypnosis since 1992. Patients using hypnosis along with general anesthesia had better results with pain management post-surgery and a reduced need for pain medications. Patients reported less pain intensity significantly more than patients not using hypnosis (Dahlgren LA, Kurtz RM, Strube MJ, Malone MD, Differential effects of hypnotic suggestion on multiple dimensions of pain. Journal of Pain & Symptom Management. 1995; 10(6): 464-70).
Patients who suffer from migraines, headaches, and anxiety have shown significantly reduced anxiety scores from evaluations preformed by researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Reduced anxiety helps to alleviate stress, reduce headache and migraine frequency and intensity (Melis PM, Rooimans W, Spierings EL, Hoogduin CA, Treatment of chronic tension-type headache with hypnotherapy: a single-blind time controlled study. Headache 1991; 31(10): 686-9).
So, hypnosis does work. The question now is, “will you give it a try?” Hypnosis is not the "end-all-be-all" and should never be used as a substitute for necessary medical treatment without a doctor’s consent. However, as an alternative to many issues such as stress, smoking cessation, weight loss, anxiety, bad habits, etc, hypnosis can be another card in your deck to play.