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Can medical hypnosis accelerate post-surgical wound healing?

15 Aug

A recent study by principal investigator, Carol Ginandes PhD, of McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School, explored differences in speed and extent of surgical wound healing in 18 breast reduction surgery patients, among 2 experimental conditions and one control condition.

The women were randomly assigned to receive either 8 supportive attention sessions, 8 hypnosis sessions targeting accelerated wound healing, or usual care. Differences in healing were observed at weeks one and seven, through clinical exams by staff who were blind to the intervention received, as well as scored, digitized photographs, patients’ subjectively rated pain, self-percieved healing and general health status.

Analysis of variance showed the hypnosis group’s wound healing to be significantly greater than the other groups’ (p < .001) by week seven. Standard care patients showed the least amount of healing.

The article includes a comprehensive review of the research literature and a very detailed and useful description of both the hypnosis intervention and the research design.

Citation: Ginandes C, Brooks P, Sando W, Jones C, Aker J. Can Medical Hypnosis Accelerate Post-Surgical Wound Healing? Results of a Clinical Trial. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 45:4, April 2003, pp. 333-351.
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