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Top Studies and Other Evidence

Author: Bruce Bonnett


Date Published: Mon, May 1, 2017
Last Revised: Sun, Feb 28, 2021
Publisher: American Hypnosis Association

Compiled and written for the American Hypnosis Association by Bruce Bonnett:

  • Senior Staff Instructor at HMI College of Hypnotherapy

  • Harvard Law School Graduate

  • President of the Hypnotherapists Union Local 472



As more and more studies show that hypnosis helps patients with many common medical problems, interest in hypnotherapy for medical issues is greater than ever before.

The use of hypnosis for medical issues is not exactly new. Back in 1958, the American Medical Association (AMA) recognized that hypnosis is a useful technique in the treatment of certain illnesses and a valid medical procedure.[1] In fact, the Wall Street Journal reported in 2003 that hypnosis “is increasingly being employed in mainstream medicine”[2] and in 2012 that “scientific evidence is mounting that hypnosis can be effective in a variety of medical situations.”[3]

A 2016 study done by researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine confirms that hypnosis is indeed a real thing. The study was conducted with functional magnetic resonance imaging, a scanning method that measures blood flow in the brain. It found changes in activity in brain areas of hypnotized persons that are thought to be involved in focused attention, the monitoring and control of the body’s functioning, and the awareness and evaluation of a person’s internal and external environments.[4]

Yet, hypnosis is still underutilized for medical issues. In 2016, Pierre-Yves Rodondi, a doctor at the University Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine at the Lausanne University Hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland, said: "If hypnosis were a medication it would already be in all hospitals, but it is an approach, and thus it must overcome cultural barriers."[5]

 Print Summaries Print All


  1. University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) > What is Hypnotherapy?

  2. Altered States: Hypnosis In Mainstream Medicine

  3. Medical Hypnosis: You Are Getting Very Healthy

  4. Study Identifies Brain Areas Altered During Hypnotic Trances and
    Is Hypnosis All in Your Head? Brain Scans Suggest Otherwise

  5. Impact Journalism Day: Healing Powers of Hypnosis Promoted by Swiss and
    Switzerland Hospital Promotes the Healing Powers of Hypnosis

Top Studies: Most Common Issues

Here are brief descriptions of just some of the top studies done at universities and hospitals that show how hypnosis helps with some of the most common issues that hypnotherapists address. (See References if you are interested in more details about any of these studies).

  1. Smoking Cessation

  2. Weight Loss

  3. Sleep Issues

  4. Stress

  5. IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) / Gastrointestinal Disorders