Hypnotherapy � 2000s, Medical Research and Findings

In 2001, the Professional Affairs Board of the British Psychological Society (BPS) commissioned a working party of expert psychologists to publish a report entitled The Nature of Hypnosis. Its remit was 'to provide a considered statement about Hypnosis and important issues concerning its application and practice in a range of contexts, notably for clinical purposes, forensic investigation, academic research, entertainment and training.' The report provides a concise (c. 20 pages) summary of the current scientific research on Hypnosis. It opens with the following introductory remark.

"Hypnosis is a valid subject for scientific study and research and a proven therapeutic medium."

With regard to the Therapeutic uses of Hypnosis, The report said:

"Enough studies have now accumulated to suggest that the inclusion of Hypnotic procedures may be beneficial in the management and treatment of a wide range of conditions and problems encountered in the practice of medicine, psychiatry and psychotherapy."

The working party then provided an overview of some of the most important contemporary research on the efficacy of clinical Hypnotherapy, which is summarized as follows:

"There is convincing evidence that Hypnotic procedures are effective in the management and relief of both acute and chronic pain and in assisting in the alleviation of pain, discomfort and distress due to medical and dental procedures and childbirth."

"Hypnosis and the practice of self-hypnosis may significantly reduce general anxiety, tension and stress in a manner similar to other relaxation and self-regulation procedures."

"Likewise, Hypnotic treatment may assist in insomnia in the same way as other relaxation methods."

"There is encouraging evidence demonstrating the beneficial effects of Hypnotherapeutic procedures in alleviating the symptoms of a range of complaints that fall under the heading 'Psychosomatic illness." These include tension headaches and migraine,asthma, gastro-intestinal complaints such as irritable bowel syndrome, warts and possibly other skin complaints such as eczema, psoriasis and urticaria [hives].

"There is evidence from several studies that its [Hypnosis] inclusion in a weight reduction program may significantly enhance outcome."