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Hypnosis Reduces the Discomfort of Hot Flashes

27 Sep

Researchers from the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Baylor University in Waco, Texas developed a study to test the efficacy of a hypnosis intervention to reduce discomfort from treatment-induced hot flashes in breast cancer survivors.  

Sixty female breast cancer survivors with hot flashes were randomly assigned to receive 5 weekly sessions of a hypnosis intervention or no treatment. Eligible patients had to have a history of primary breast cancer without evidence of detectable disease and 14 or more weekly hot flashes for at least 1 month. 

The major outcome measure was hot flash frequency, and a hot flash score, as well as self-reports of the interference hot flashes created with daily activities.

Fifty-one subjects completed the study. By the end of the treatment period, hot flash scores (frequency x average severity) decreased 68% from baseline to end point in the hypnosis arm (P < .001). Significant improvements in self-reported anxiety, depression, interference of hot flashes on daily activities, and sleep were observed for patients who received the hypnosis intervention (P < .005) in comparison to the no treatment control group.

The investigators conclude that hypnosis appears to reduce perceived hot flashes in breast cancer survivors and may have additional benefits such as reduced anxiety and depression, and improved sleep.


Citation:  Elkins G, Marcus J, Stearns V, Perfect M, Rajab MH, Ruud C, Palamara L, Keith T. Randomized trial of a hypnosis intervention for treatment of hot flashesamong breast cancer survivors. J Clin Oncol. 2008 Nov1;26(31):5022-6. Epub 2008 Sep 22. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.