Hypnosis - an Effective Way to Ease the Breast Cancer Surgery Pain

Aug 29, 2007
The pain of the surgery can be easily eliminated using hypnosis. Thus the patient won't need any pills and needles.

A new study showed that women, suffering from breast cancer, need less anesthesia during the surgery if they received hypnosis. Patients reported as having less pain after the surgery. Those who received hypnosis needed less time in the operating room and the cost of their surgery was lower.

Guy Montgomery, lead author of the report, who works as an associate professor in the department of oncological sciences at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, stated that hypnosis has no side effects, only side benefits.

The results of the study might push specialists to use hypnosis in health care more widely.

It is quite common for patients who receive a breast cancer surgery to have several side effects, including pain, nausea and fatigue. A research performed earlier suggested that such a simple an quite inexpensive procedure like hypnosis, is able to ease these issues.

A small study showed that hypnosis can be helpful not only after breast cancer surgery but also before it begins.

In the new study scientists have chosen 200 women, who were about to receive breast cancer surgery. These women were selected randomly and they were all assigned either to receive 15 minutes of hypnosis with a psychologist or just be in a control group, where they would have a talk with a psychologist.

The psychologist, who performed the hypnosis, suggested patients to relax and have a pleasant imagery. During the procedure patients received advices on who to ease side effects such as pain, nausea and fatigue. Women were also taught to use hypnosis on their own.

Thus the researchers found that women who were assigned to the hypnosis group needed less anesthesia as well as sedatives than those in the control group. After the surgery, patients who received hypnosis also reported of having less pain, nausea, fatigue, as well as discomfort and emotional upset. The surgical cost of these patients reduced by about 3, this was mainly due to a shorter time spent in the operating room.

According to Dr. David Spiegel, author of an accompanying editorial in the journal and Willson, who works as a professor and associate chairman of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine, some people think that that those under hypnosis have lack of control. In reality hypnosis does the opposite.

"This is something that empowers patients. If you're fighting, you think you're protecting yourself, but, actually, you're losing control, because you're getting into a struggle with your own body. You can teach people to float instead of fighting. You get the body comfortable and think more clearly. The weird thing is it actually works. If thoughts can make the body worse, it follows that thoughts could actually make the body feel better," stated Dr. David Spiegel.

However, scientists still have in-built skepticism regarding the processes that take place in the brain and the mind. Unfortunately today the only real intervention is considered to be a physical one.

In addition, most doctors would rather write a prescription than learn to hypnotize. Dr. David Spiegel also mentioned that today there is no industry like the drug industry that can push hypnosis.

However, there is also a positive side - the hypnosis program needs little investments. It takes little time to train a psychologist or nurse.

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