Hypnosis has come a long way from being the strange and mysterious “mesmeric” phenomenon to a scientifically accepted therapeutic tool. Most people have a severe impression about hypnosis from the stage shows and cartoon strips like Mandrake the magician. Consequently, medical science had also been suspicious and wary of its effects for a long time.

Recent changes in health care have brought out an increased demand for empirically supported treatment options in medicine. There is a demand for the integration of hypnotic techniques in the treatment of a number of medical problems from various quarters. It is because important for physicians to learn the basics of medical hypnotherapy and add it into their therapeutic armamentarium. Although time consuming, used judiciously, it can reap rich benefits for the physician and patient alike.

The most important recent development in medical hypnosis is our realization that the power of hypnosis actually resides in the patient and not in the doctor!

The above simple statement has profound implications because it exemplifies existence of useful potential within each patient that can be put into positive use in the management of psychosomatic illnesses. The goal of modern medical hypnosis that is to help patients use this untapped subconscious potential to its full extend. This will indeed bring in a fresh and somewhat revolutionary shift from the physician focused, authoritarian methods of the past and the present.

Although the British Medical Association had recognized the importance of hypnosis as early as in 1891, it was not until 1955 that the BMA suggested teaching of the therapeutic use of hypnosis in medicine. Three years later, the American Medical Association followed suit.

An International Society of Hypnosis has been set up to coordinate and assess the standards and practices of professional hypnotism across the world. Hypnosis is currently indicated in several areas of health care as an adjunct to more conventional treatments. These include dentistry, general medicine, and psychology. Dermatology, or the study of skin diseases, is a branch that has specifically taken up and studied the effects of hypnosis in a number of skin conditions like warts, eczema and psoriasis.

The purpose of medical hypnosis is to reduce suffering, to promote healing, or to help the person alter a destructive behavior that may be affecting his / her health adversely.

The aim of this series of articles is to help the modern medical practitioners understand hypnosis better and offer it to their patients who may benefit from it as an adjunct to the modern medical therapies. Patients suffering from a variety of illnesses will also benefit in making an informed decision on the therapeutic alternatives available to them.

A few words to doctors: whether you use hypnotism in your practice or not, studying hypnotism will definitely make you a better individual and a much improved healer. Your therapeutic approach will change for the better. You will find your patients more receptive and compliant to your suggestions. It is not very difficult to master the hypnotherapy skills.

This series will discuss, mainly, the following topics:

  1. Introduction to Medical Hypnosis
  2. What is Hypnosis?
  3. Theories of Hypnosis
  4. Hypnosis: Myths and Reality
  5. A Brief History of Medical Hypnosis
  6. How Does Hypnosis Work?
  7. Hypnotic Sleep Vs Normal Sleep
  8. Uses of Hypnosis in Medicine
  9. Major Studies Conductive on Hypnotherapy So Far.
  10. The Eight Steps in Hypnotic Induction.
  11. Repertoire of Induction techniques
  12. Trance Management
  13. Implanting Post Hypnotic Suggestions
  14. Problems in Hypnotherapy
  15. Autohypnosis as tool in Medicine
  16. Guidelines on Practice of Medical Hypnosis for the Doctors
  17. Guidelines on Practice of Medical Hypnosis for the Patients

Next Chapter: What is Hypnosis?