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Virtual Reality Adds No Improvement To Hypnosis Outcomes

22 May

Researchers from the University of Greenwich, London, UK investigated whether hypnosis plus Virtual Reality (VR) performed more effectively than hypnosis alone.
Thirty-five healthy participants were randomized to self-hypnosis with VR imagery, standard self-hypnosis, or relaxation interventions. Changes in sleep, cortisol levels, and mood were measured.

The Self-hypnosis arm involved 10- to 20-min. sessions visualizing a healthy immune scenario. Trait absorption was also recorded as a possible moderator. Moderated regression indicated that both hypnosis interventions, with or without VR, produced significantly lower tiredness ratings than relaxation when trait absorption was high. When trait absorption was low, VR resulted in significantly higher engagement ratings, although this did not translate to demonstrable improvement in outcomes. Results suggest that VR imagery may increase engagement relative to traditional methods, but there would need to be further investigation to establish whether it potential to enhance therapeutic efficacy, as none was found here.

Citation:  Thompson T, Steffert T, Steed A, Gruzelier J.  A randomized controlled trial of the effects of hypnosis with 3-D virtual reality animation on tiredness, mood, and salivary cortisol. Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2011 Jan;59(1):122-42. 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