Hypnosis for Medical Conditions

Hypnosis with Cancer Treatment

Hypnosis can help with cancer treatment in conjunction with medical care in the area of pain management, appetite control, nausea, patient’s outlook, how patient accepts their situation, and with insomnia.

The ground breaking work in this area was done by Dr. O. Carl Simonton and his wife, Stephanie Matthew-Simonton. In their book, Getting Well Again, (Simonton 1978) relaxation, visualization, and imagery were part of their treatment plan. In 1985, Dr. David Spiegel, renowned hypnosis researcher and Professor at Stanford University School of Medicine, wrote a paper printed in Ca–A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, on “The Use of Hypnosis in Controlling Cancer Pain.”  In this detailed support of using hypnosis, he points out three principles in controlling pain; filtering the hurt out of the pain, not fighting the pain, and the use of self-hypnosis. Dr. Spiegel also did a study of women with breast cancer that was reported in 1989 in Lancet. The results of that study showed patients with cancer contacting hypnotherapists to receive help through imagery.

In 1997, The National Institutes of Health Technology assessment panel, determined that the use of hypnosis, as a part of a comprehensive treatment plan, can be an effective pain relief method. They believed this to be especially important in oncology, because 60% to 80% of patients with advanced cancer have pain. The panel emphasized that the key to use of hypnosis is to introduce it early in the cancer patient’s treatment and to use it along with – not as a substitute for opiate drugs. They found that early use is important because cancer patients often have pain from multiples sources (including treatments), which last for years. The NIH panel also emphasized that hypnosis for pain reduction was cost-effective and often cheaper than other methods. In fact, hypnosis was singled out as an effective, noninvasive, and inexpensive way of helping relieve cancer pain.  The study found hypnosis to be more effective than biofeedback, or cognitive behavioral training which strives to change a patient’s negative thought patterns about pain. It is also effective for many cancer patients who fear addiction and won’t take enough medication to relieve their pain.

Since these studies, there have been numerous others conducted, including studies showing the benefit of using imagery, as well. It is well documented now, that using imagery can bolster and boost the immune system, which is a very important help to someone with cancer. The use of Mind/Body techniques like hypnosis and imagery are integrative in approach to go along with traditional medical treatment.


Mind/body work through imagery in hypnosis is an excellent path to take for an integrative therapeutic approach. Hypnosis can help the HIV client to reframe the picture of what it is to live with HIV. Reframing is often used in hypnosis. It means creating a new picture of the situation at hand – looking at the old idea in a new way. Clients use imagery to build up the good numbers and diminish the not-so-good numbers. Building up confidence and self-value in the client is also part of this HIV treatment in Hypnotherapy. Negative attitudes about changing medications frequently, taking many different kinds of medication, social stigmas, and being able to create a loving support network are all possible to work on through imagery in hypnosis.

Hypnosis Support for Surgery

The thoughts you think can affect the feelings in your body – your thoughts can influence your body. Let’s influence the body toward the positive! Being able to visualize and imagine in the hypnotic state how you would like the surgery to go is an excellent mental rehearsal to do. It is very helpful for pre-surgery patients. It’s always important to follow your Doctor’s orders. Cheryl can help you practice imagery to promote a sense of well being and enjoy a harmonious condition of mind/body before and after surgery. Also, you can learn to be relaxed about having the surgery with techniques Cheryl can teach you — as well as listen to a personally designed pre-surgery mp3 for positive reinforcement.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Again, mind/body concepts are used with irritable bowel syndrome. Along with a program of Hypnotherapy that would help the client to slow down the digestion process, an aggressive stress relief program would be recommended. Studies have shown that several times throughout the day, short periods of relaxation exercises, as suggested in hypnosis and imagery, would help to bring relief.