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11. Pain

In 2014, researchers from the University of Washington reviewed recent clinical trials regarding studies hypnosis for pain management and found that hypnosis is effective for reducing chronic pain. They conclude that: “Chronic pain management remains one of the largest challenges in health care, and hypnosis is an undeveloped but highly promising intervention that can help to address this problem.”[11.1]

In 2015, researchers from the University of Rome reviewed functional neuroimaging studies focusing on pain perception under hypnosis, which supported the clinical use of hypnosis in the management of pain conditions.[11.2]


11.1. Hypnotic Approaches for Chronic Pain Management: Clinical Implications of Recent Research Findings

Abstract: The empirical support for hypnosis for chronic pain management has flourished over the past two decades. Clinical trials show that hypnosis is effective for reducing chronic pain, although outcomes vary between individuals. The findings from these clinical trials also show that hypnotic treatments have a number of positive effects beyond pain control. Neurophysiological studies reveal that hypnotic analgesia has clear effects on brain and spinal-cord functioning that differ as a function of the specific hypnotic suggestions made, providing further evidence for the specific effects of hypnosis. The research results have important implications for how clinicians can help their clients experience maximum benefits from hypnosis and treatments that include hypnotic components.

Am Psychol. 2014 Feb-Mar;69(2):167-77. doi: 10.1037/a0035644
Jensen MP, Patterson DR, Dept. of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington


11.2. Pain Perception and Hypnosis: Findings from Recent Functional Neuroimaging Studies

Hypnosis modulates pain perception and tolerance by affecting cortical and subcortical activity in brain regions involved in these processes. By reviewing functional neuroimaging studies focusing on pain perception under hypnosis, the authors aimed to identify brain activation-deactivation patterns occurring in hypnosis-modulated pain conditions. Different changes in brain functionality occurred throughout all components of the pain network and other brain areas. The anterior cingulate cortex appears to be central in modulating pain circuitry activity under hypnosis. Most studies also showed that the neural functions of the prefrontal, insular, and somatosensory cortices are consistently modified during hypnosis-modulated pain conditions. Functional neuroimaging studies support the clinical use of hypnosis in the management of pain conditions.

Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2015;63(2):144-70. doi: 10.1080/00207144.2015.1002371
Del Casale A1, Ferracuti S, Rapinesi C, Serata D, Caltagirone SS, Savoja V, Piacentino D, Callovini G, Manfredi G, Sani G, Kotzalidis GD, Girardi P., University of Rome

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