Hypnosis: a Powerful Tool in Complementary Cancer Care

Initial studies have shown hypnosis to be extremely beneficial for cancer patients and loved ones who battle anxiety, difficulty sleeping, and other secondary symptoms associated with traditional cancer treatments. Aggressive cancers like mesothelioma can have harmful side effects associated with radiation and chemotherapy regimens. Hypnosis has been shown to demonstrate improved capacity to manage these symptoms in mesothelioma patients as well as that of other types of cancer.

Hypnotherapy has been used for many years in clinical settings. Hypnotherapy’s role in cancer management however, is relatively new and indications are that its utilization has not been fully maximized yet. Effective cancer treatment often depends on the patient’s ability to not only defeat the cancer through treatments but also to maintain their health and mental spirit throughout the painful side effects of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.

Often, the symptoms and effects of the cancer itself on the body are negligible compared to the pain and other side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. This is where acupuncture has been said to be most effective. Cancers such as mesothelioma, which are often unable to be removed by surgical means, are often treated with some combination of chemotherapy and radiation. While these potent therapies can be effective in eliminating some of the tumor mass and growth, they also profoundly affect the health of the surrounding tissue. Symptoms of these effects including fever, nausea, and general pain have been dramatically reduced through the utilization of hypnosis. Patients, who are able to withstand these symptoms and recover quickly, will often be able to be more aggressively treated, increasing the efficacy of the treatment regimen as a whole. Some specific hypnotherapy techniques utilized in pain management include altering the neurophysical configuration of pain, control of anticipatory anxiety, and targeted imagery.

Hypnotherapy techniques may not be appropriate for all patient’s pain and individual symptoms but it’s certainly worth exploring as it can do very little harm in experimenting with integrative therapies. The goal with alternative therapies, as with traditional mesothelioma treatments, is always to increase the effectiveness of treatment as a whole. If hypnotherapy can assist in any way in helping patients recover or manage symptoms of chemotherapy or radiation, then it will have contributed to the treatment regimens overall efficacy and should certainly be utilized.


Erickson MH: Hypnosis in painful terminal illness, in Haley J (ed): Advanced Techniques of Hypnosis and Therapy: Selected Papers of Milton Erickson, MD. New York, Crune & Stratton, 1967.

Sunnen, Gerard M.D. , Hypnotic Approaches in the Cancer Patient Ozonics International, LLC

Can Hypnosis Treat Fibromyalgia?

About 5 million Americans suffer from fibromyalgia.    The condition is characterized by severe muscle pain, sore tender points and body fatigue.  Its onset can be sudden, as in the person who develops fibromyalgia after experiencing a trauma, such as a car accident.  It can also be more gradual.  Fibromyalgia can go into remission and then appear again. People with Fibro should avoid stress because stress tends to exacerbate the symptoms.

There are many different types of treatments available for fibromyalgia, including prescription medications, acupuncture, water aerobics, hypnotherapy and massage therapy.  What works for one person may not work for another.

One might not immediately think of hypnosis as a treatment option, but studies show hypnosis can turn off pain receptors in the brain.  That’s something fibro sufferers could really benefit from.  Indeed, according to a recent study in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine, where scientists compared the brain imaging scans of 20 women diagnosed with fibro with the scans of 10 healthy women, the Fibro sufferers had pain receptors that were much more active.  If we could only shut those pain receptors off? Well, now we know we can..with hypnosis.

In most Fibro sufferers, the stress response is constantly being triggered and the body has simply forgotten how to produce the relaxation response. Hypnosis can help reprogram your mind so that you’re producing the relaxation response much more readily and easily.

For more info on how you can benefit from hypnotherapy, please email me at melany@hypnoswitch.com.

Can Hypnosis Cure Bipolar Disease?

October 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Chronic Pain Relief

Treating Manic Depressive Symptoms with Hypnosis

Bipolar disease, also known as manic depressive disorder, is a type of mood disorder.  Everyone has highs and lows, but people with bipolar have extreme highs and lows.  This can sometimes inhibit their ability to function in life.  Extreme bouts of bipolar can lead to aggressive and/or self-destructive behaviors.  Some bipolars have audial and visual hallucinations.  Many bipolars turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to self medicate.  Some of the symptoms of bipolar disorder include:

  • insomnia
  • reckless behavior
  • impulsive behavior
  • racing thoughts
  • delusions and hallucinations
  • severe depression and thoughts of suicide

Bipolar is a very difficult disease to treat. Patients are generally given psychiotropic medication, but finding the right combination of meds can be difficult. Also, many bipolars prefer not to take their meds as it robs them of the supersonic energy they feel during the mania.

So, what’s the alternative?  Well, how about hypnosis?  If hypnotherapy is a great tool for molding the human mind, why not the bipolar mind?  Those were some of the questions I asked myself when I first started treating manic depressive symptoms using hypnotherapy.

My first experience with a bipolar patient was about 10 months ago.  When he first came to my office, he was in pretty bad shape. He was drinking excessively (to the point of black-outs) as a way to manage his illness.  He had severe insomnia and debilitating anxiety. He was totally out of control.

10 months later, he’s still sober.  He’s been taking his meds more consistently and he’s much less anxious.  He’s been sleeping better and he feels more balanced and in-control.

Can hypnosis cure bipolar disease? Maybe not entirely. But it can certainly be very useful in relieving some of the symptoms.

For more info on how hypnosis can alleviate bipolar sysmptoms, please write to us online or offline (melany@hypnoswitch.com).