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Hypnosis

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Hypnosis (also called hypnotherapy) has been studied for a number of conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), state anxiety (e.g., before medical procedures or surgeries), menopausal symptoms, hot flashes in breast cancer survivors, headaches, and post-traumatic stress disorder. It has also been studied for pain control and smoking cessation.

  • Some studies have suggested that hypnosis may be helpful for gastrointestinal symptoms, anxiety, depression, disability, and health-related quality of life in people with IBS. A 2018 recommendation from the American College of Gastroenterology, however, said that the evidence for using psychological therapies, including hypnosis, for IBS is “weak,” with a “very low” quality of evidence.
  • A growing body of evidence suggests that hypnosis may help to manage some painful conditions.
  • Some studies have shown promising results on hypnosis for anxiety related to medical or dental procedures, but the overall evidence is not conclusive.
  • Studies of hypnosis to help with quitting smoking have had conflicting results.
  • There is some evidence suggesting that hypnosis may help improve certain menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes. A 2015 position paper from the North American Menopause Society recommended hypnosis for managing hot flashes but acknowledged that favorable evidence is limited.

For More Information

NCCIH Clearinghouse

The NCCIH Clearinghouse provides information on NCCIH and complementary and integrative health approaches, including publications and searches of Federal databases of scientific and medical literature. The Clearinghouse does not provide medical advice, treatment recommendations, or referrals to practitioners.

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NCCIH and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) provide tools to help you understand the basics and terminology of scientific research so you can make well-informed decisions about your health. Know the Science features a variety of materials, including interactive modules, quizzes, and videos, as well as links to informative content from Federal resources designed to help consumers make sense of health information.

Explaining How Research Works (NIH)

Know the Science: 9 Questions To Help You Make Sense of Health Research

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PubMed®

A service of the National Library of Medicine, PubMed® contains publication information and (in most cases) brief summaries of articles from scientific and medical journals. For guidance from NCCIH on using PubMed, see How To Find Information About Complementary Health Approaches on PubMed.

Website: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/

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NCCIH has provided this material for your information. It is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your health care provider(s). We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with your health care provider. The mention of any product, service, or therapy is not an endorsement by NCCIH.

Last Updated: January 2020