Date Published: Issue (Pages 81, 82, 84 and 87)
Publisher: Good Housekeeping Magazine
Once a side show staple, hypnosis is gaining doctors' respect. Could it work for you? Get the facts - and take our special quiz.
It's not always easy for Diana Young to share childbirth stories with other mothers. "Some women sound as if they had this terrible experience," she says. "But, really, I had a wonderful time."
Young isn't delusional. Nor did she try a new wonder drug. In fact, the Austin, Texas, homemaker took no pain medication at all during labor. Instead, she relied on hypnosis to manage her discomfort.
Because Young had developed a rash when she'd taken pain medication in the past, her obstetrician suggested she contact hypnotist and doula Jeanne Robertson for help. "At first I had doubts," says Young. "But I was happy to have an option besides drugs."
Over the course of several weeks, Robertson taught Young and her husband the basics of hypnotic suggestion. When the time came, the technique didn't fail her. "My labor was 20 hours long," says Young. "I was uncomfortable, but I didn't feel like screaming."
Many of us still equate hypnotism with dangling pocket watches and staged stunts. But the technique has gained credibility among mainstream doctors and has been taught at the best medical schools for years. Thousands of doctors and dentists now practice hypnosis or routinely refer patients to experts who do.
Researchers have found that hypnosis can relieve pain, boost the immune system, help patients bounce back from surgery - even change the course of some diseases. In fact, researchers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York City, recently found that 89 percent of patients who were hypnotized prior to or during surgery had less pain and nausea, needed fewer pain medications, or recovered more rapidly than those who weren't hypnotized.
This is a four page article on hypnosis.
Auke Tellegen, Ph.D., emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota, in Minneapolis; Etzel CardeÃ±a, Ph.D., chair of psychology and anthropology at the University of Texas-Pan American, in Edinburg.