Hypnosis to tackle problems of chronic pain: International expert

A visiting international rehabilitation expert has called for Hypnotic Therapy to be considered a ‘mainstream’ treatment option in the management of chronic pain, potentially benefiting thousands of Australian pain sufferers.

Presenting at the Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, Annual Scientific Meeting in Brisbane today, Professor Mark Jensen, Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington, urged Australian healthcare professionals to discuss the option with their patients.

“Pain management for patients, particularly those with long-term illness or injury requires a considered and holistic approach,” Professor Jensen said. “Imaging studies have shown that Hypnotic Therapy influences all of the cortical areas and neuro-physiological process that underline pain.

“Helping patients manage pain can have a significant psychological impact. What people do to manage pain and what they think about pain, and their social environment, can all influence pain and its negative impact on functioning.”

Findings that could have significant benefit for sufferers of chronic pain, their family members and caregivers, show that Hypnosis can reduce daily background pain intensity for many patients.

Moreover, recent well-documented clinical trials in people with disabilities have demonstrated that Hypnotic treatment for chronic pain has specific effects on pain intensity over and above effects based on placebo (expectancy) alone.

This is good news for the estimated one in five adult Australians (3.2 million) that suffer chronic pain, a number that is projected to increase as Australia’s population ages.

“Hypnosis still has a certain stigma to it,” Professor Jensen said. “However we are seeing this treatment option used to manage debilitating physical and psychological conditions including phobias and addiction.

“It may be that physicians are not recommending Hypnotic to their patients due to a lack of understanding of the process, or it may be that patients are wary of Hypnosis.

“Hypnotic treatment for chronic pain management has proven efficacy and should be explored as a viable option in the treatment plan.”

Further to the pain management results associated with Hypnotic Therapy, Hypnosis can influence a number of non-pain-related quality-of-life domains according to Professor Jensen.

“Based on various international studies, the side effects of Hypnosis have been shown to be overwhelmingly positive. Indirectly, any therapy that can assist with pain management can ease the burden on caregivers, and positively impact family relationships.”

Professor Jensen recommends that rehabilitation physicians train patients in the use of self-Hypnosis to achieve immediate pain relief and provide audio recordings of treatment sessions to enhance treatment effects.

The Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine (AFRM) of The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), Australia’s largest specialist medical college, is currently holding its Annual Scientific Meeting, this year with the theme ‘Striking AcCORD – succeeding through teamwork’.

The 2011 AFRM Annual Scientific Meeting is currently being held in Brisbane from 13 to 17 September, 2011.


  1. Stephen Gruber Stephen Gruber Canada says:

    As the Consulting Hypnotist at the Queen Elizabeth Health Complex in Montreal I must support and congratulate Prof. Mark Jensen for his observations regarding the efficacy of Hypnotherapy in the management of chronic pain relief.

    He is highlighting that which is well supported in the clinical literature.  Further, Hypnosis is already being used by Consulting Hypnotists for the benefit of chronic pain patients, the only sad thing is that so relatively few medical professionals and patients are aware of this powerful approach to pain control that has no side effects.
    Stephen Gruber MA

  2. Seth-Deborah Roth Seth-Deborah Roth United States says:

    Finally, it is being recommended for doctors to use "Hypnotic Therapy" to treat chronic pain.

    As an Anesthetist and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, I teach many clients how to use "Hypnosis/Hypnotherapy" for pain management.

    No side effects. No addiction. YOU are in control. It doesn't have to be refrigerated. You always have it with you. Once you learn how, there is no cost.

    Seth-Deborah Roth

  3. Jessie Hodgson Jessie Hodgson Australia says:

    I read this wonderful article from a rural area in Queensland, Australia where I work as a hypnotherapist.  

    Thank you Prof Jensen - your highly professional comments inches us ever closer to the goal...assisting the valuable members of our communities (wherever they may be) in reaching optimal health.  

    The detrimental stigmas, based on misconception of valuable hypnotic work, is exponentially decreased as a direct result of support from our ever valuable medical practitioners - such as you.

    May all people come to know how easily THEY can use hypnosis to assist their ailments!

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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