Hypnosis has been used for over 100 years in various forms. However, there has been much controversy about the actual state of hypnosis and whether it is effective in helping people overcome anxiety and various disorders.
In 1892, the British Medical Association (BMA) had a group of doctors evaluate hypnotherapy's effects. This group concluded that the hypnotic state was a genuine state and that the effectiveness of hypnotherapy was evident in relieving sleeplessness, anxiety disorders, and pain.
In 1955, the Psychological Medicine Group of the BMA authorized Professor T. Ferguson Rodger to lead a Subcommittee to publish a more detailed report on hypnosis and its effectiveness. The Subcommittee meetings many experts on hypnosis from different fields to learn more about the effectiveness of hypnosis.
After a two-year period of research, it concluded that there was enough evidence to show that hypnotism could be effective in treating certain disorders and “psychoneurosis,” as well as possibly identifying and addressing unrecognized motives within subjects. The Subcommittee concluded that hypnosis can help to eliminate symptoms and change very dire and / or harmful behaviors and thoughts.
In 1958, the American Medical Association (AMA) agreed with that Subcommittee, concluding that hypnosis had its place in the medical community and could be a useful technique in treating certain diseases and disorders if properly utilized by qualified medical personnel.
It's important to note that the AMA considered hypnotherapy as an “orthodox” or standard treatment (not a treatment that was considered unusual or alternative). This report was approved by the Reference Committee on Hygiene, Public Health, and Industrial Health.
In 1995, the US National Institute for Health (NIH) formulated a Technology Assessment Conference that published an extensive report on treating insomnia and chronic pain through behavioral and relaxation approaches.
The summary of that report stated that there was strong evidence of hypnosis of effectiveness in alleviating chronic pain that was caused by cancer.
Furthermore, there was also evidence showing that hypnosis could help reduce the pain caused by such conditions as tension headaches, jaw pain, pain and swelling of the mucus membrane, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
In 1999, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) produced a Clinical Review on the state of current medical research regarding hypnotherapy and relaxation therapies. In that review, there were several affirmative conclusions reached on how hypnosis and relaxation could help alleviate the pain, nauseous, vomiting, and anxiety caused by cancer.
Hypnosis and relaxation were also found to be effective in combination with cognitive therapeutic methods (such as sleep hygiene) to treat insomnia, panic disorders, and phobias. The review also stated that there was evidence showing that hypnosis had some value in treating asthma.
One claim that the review could not affirm was that hypnosis could prolong life, a claim made by some hypnotists.
In the Monday, February 12, 2007 issue of “American Health Magazine,” it reported the following findings from a recent study:
- In 600 sessions of psychoanalysis, there was a 38% recovery rate.
- In 22 sessions of behavioral therapy, there was a 72% recovery rate.
- In 6 sessions of hypnotherapy, there was a 93% recovery rate.
It is clear that there has been much study and debate over the effectiveness of hypnosis in the treatment of various medical conditions, ranging from anxiety and panic disorders to alleviating pain and nausea caused by cancer.
There have been many studies and responsibilities over the past 120 years that indicate that there is strong evidence that hypnosis does provide reliable relief and benefits to those who undergo hypnotherapy to alleviate pain and various disorders.
Continuing support for such evidence is likely a major reason why hypnosis is a regularly used treatment in our society today.