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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.

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Last Updated: January 2020