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Hypnosis for the treatment of hot flashes in breast cancer survivors.

09 Aug

Researchers from the Mind-Body Cancer Research Program at Scott and White Memorial Hospital in Temple, Texas, launched a pilot study to investigate the effectiveness of hypnosis in reducing hot flashes in 16 breast cancer survivors.

Patients provided baseline data and received 4 weekly sessions of hypnosis that followed a standardized transcript. Patients were also instructed in self-hypnosis. Throughout the clinical care, patients completed daily diaries of the frequency and severity of their hot flashes. Patients also completed baseline and post-treatment ratings of the degree to which their hot flashes interfered with daily activities and quality of life.

Results indicated a 59% decrease in total daily hot flashes and a 70% decrease in weekly hot flash scores from their baselines. There was also a significant decrease in the degree to which hot flashes interfered with daily activities for all measures, including work, social activities, leisure activities, sleep, mood, concentration, relations with others, sexuality, enjoyment of life, and overall quality of life.

This preliminary study suggests that clinical hypnosis may be an effective non-hormonal and non-pharmacological treatment for hot flashes. A randomized, controlled clinical trial is planned to more definitively determine the efficacy of hypnosis for reducing hot flashes.

Citation: Elkins G, Marcus J, Stearns V, Hasan Rajab M. Pilot evaluation of hypnosis for the treatment of hot flashes in breast cancer survivors. Psychooncology. 2007 May; 16 (5): pages 487-92. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award