If you were told when you were older all your fears would shrink, but now you’re insecure and fear what people think….maybe you’re stressed out…
While turning back time and playing pretend aren’t really options, there is something that could help reduce stress…
And we’re going to share some of the research about whether it works for stress, as well as things like stress and anxiety, PTSD, and even exam stress.
And we’ll also cover side effects, which are an important consideration depending on the cause of your stress.
But first, let’s explore a little bit more about stress…
What is Stress?
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, stress is “a feeling of emotional or physical tension.” It may be experienced as a feeling of frustration, anger, or nervousness that arises from a certain event or thoughts.
Anxiety is related to stress, as it is the state of feeling stressed after the stressful event or thought is gone.
Chronic stress can have a negative impact on health. Not only will it make symptoms of an existing health condition worse, it may also contribute to health issues like:
- Gastrointestinal issues
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Menstrual problems
Does Hypnosis Work for Stress?
The question everyone wants answered is: does hypnosis work for stress?
According to some researchers, the high risk of bias can greatly affect the results of various research studies that have demonstrated hypnotherapy’s effectiveness for stress reduction. So while 6 out of 9 studies looked at in a systematic review demonstrated the positive effects of hypnosis for stress reduction, the question is, can those results be trusted?
According to researcher Fisch et al, “the effectiveness of hypnosis or hypnotherapy in stress reduction remains still unclear. More high quality clinical research is urgently needed.”
Stress and Anxiety
Vickers et al in an article published in the Journal of Western Medicine state, “The primary applications of hypnosis and relaxation techniques are for anxiety,” and that “Evidence from randomized controlled trials indicates that hypnosis…can reduce anxiety.”
I feel relieved already…
But what about other causes and types of stress and anxiety?
In the same study cited above, Vickers et al share that, “Evidence from randomized trials shows hypnosis and relaxation are effective for cancer-related anxiety.”
While hypnosis may be used for the treatment of PTSD, it may cause issues with individuals suffering from PTSD by retraumatizing them with memories that were once forgotten, but remembered during the hypnotic state. Hypnosis may also induce “false memories” in psychologically susceptible individuals.
Caution should be used in this situation and the qualifications of your provider are essential for the success of your treatment.
While there is certainly research demonstrating that hypnotherapy is effective for autism, many researchers, such as Kaiser et al, suggest that hypnosis should be used in conjunction with conventional treatment for the best effect and that further research is needed to determine the extent of hypnotherapy’s benefit for children, and in particular, for autism.
In this review, researchers cite two studies where hypnosis buffered the effects of stress on immune functions in medical students at exam time. So if you’re a student preparing for an exam, hypnosis may help you not get quite so stressed out that you make yourself sick, literally…
According to Vickers et al, side effects from hypnosis are uncommon. Its use should “be avoided in patients with borderline personality disorder, dissociative disorders, or with patients who have histories of profound abuse.”
How Many Sessions?
The number of sessions required to help with stress will vary and it is advisable to discuss treatment with your healthcare provider or hypnotherapist.
Self-hypnosis should also be considered an option and may be learned alongside professional treatment to help reduce the number of sessions needed and improve the positive outcome of professional treatments.
The cost of hypnosis for stress reduction will depend on your geographic location and the skill level of your practitioner.
Learning self-hypnosis will greatly reduce the cost of using hypnosis to manage your stress, as professional treatments will be needed less frequently.
Frequently asked questions
Does hypnotherapy work for stress?
Yes, research does indicate that hypnosis, particularly in the form of progressive relaxation, is helpful in moderating stress levels.
How effective is hypnotherapy for stress?
The effectiveness of hypnotherapy treatment for stress will depend on your willingness to be hypnotized. If you are unwilling to participate in the treatment and refuse to be hypnotized or are otherwise resistant to the hypnotic state, your treatments will not be very effective.
If, however, you fully participate and are willing to be hypnotized, you may experience a higher level of effectiveness from your hypnotherapy sessions. Practicing self-hypnosis may also improve the effectiveness of your professional treatments.
Does Medicare cover hypnotherapy for stress?
No, Medicare doesn’t cover hypnotherapy for stress.
How often should I get hypnotherapy for stress?
It is advisable to discuss the frequency of your hypnotherapy treatments for stress with a professional hypnotherapist in your area.
There are many complementary and alternative therapies that may help with stress, including:
- Chi Kung (Qigong)
- Guided imagery and visualization
- Massage Therapy
- Tai Chi
- Yoga Therapy
Before utilizing hypnotherapy for stress, be sure to talk with your physician or medical professional about getting a proper medical diagnosis and what treatment recommendations are appropriate for your condition.
Work with a professional hypnotherapist in your area to determine how hypnotherapy may best help you and the frequency of treatment that’s right for you.
Gruzelier J. H. (2002). A review of the impact of hypnosis, relaxation, guided imagery and individual differences on aspects of immunity and health. Stress (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 5(2), 147–163. https://doi.org/10.1080/10253890290027877
Kaiser, P., Kohen, D. P., Brown, M. L., Kajander, R. L., & Barnes, A. J. (2018). Integrating Pediatric Hypnosis with Complementary Modalities: Clinical Perspectives on Personalized Treatment. Children (Basel, Switzerland), 5(8), 108. https://doi.org/10.3390/children5080108
Medline. (2020, November 3). Stress and your health: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Retrieved November 16, 2020, from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003211.htm
U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. hypnotherapy. (n.d.). Retrieved October 20, 2020, from https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/hypnotherapy
Vickers, A., Zollman, C., & Payne, D. K. (2001). Hypnosis and relaxation therapies. The Western journal of medicine, 175(4), 269–272. https://doi.org/10.1136/ewjm.175.4.269