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Author: Paul L. Cerrato

Date Published:
Publisher: Contemporary OB/GYN

Invasive medical procedures seem to yield to self-hypnosis.

Patients undergoing percutaneous vascular and renal procedures may benefit from self-hypnotic relaxation, according to a recent Lancet report. A team of investigators from Harvard Medical School and other major universities randomized 241 patients to receive either IV conscious sedation or sedation supplemented with either self-hypnosis or "structured attention."

Patients receiving structured attention were cared for by clinicians who listened very closely to their intra operative concerns, responded swiftly to their requests, provided encouragement, and avoided negatively loaded questions like, "How bad is the pain?" those in the hypnosis group were read a hypnosis induction script in addition to benefiting from the aforementioned supportive listening.

Patients in the hypnosis group experienced significantly less pain than those receiving standard care, and their procedures took less time to complete. Similarly, analgesic use was significantly lower in both experimental groups when compared to the standard care group. And finally, only one patient in the hypnosis group became hemodynamically unstable, compared to 10 in the attention group (P=0.0041) and 12 in the standard group (P=0.0009).

Lang EV, Benotsch EG, Fick LJ, et al. Adjunctive non-pharmacological analgesia for invasive medical procedures: a randomized trial. Lancet. 2000;355:1486-1490.

Department editor Paul L. Cerrato, Managing Editor of Contemporary OB/GYN, is a guest lecturer at the Institute of Human Nutrition, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, N.Y.