Hypnosis Good for Hot Flashes Study Concludes

A recent university study reports that using hypnosis for relaxation can decrease both the frequency and severity of hot flashes in menopausal women. This is good news for women entering menopause as estimates show that 85% of women will experience hot flashes during this life phase. Researchers also noted that other problems related to hot flashes such as lack of sleep and difficulties with social interaction also decreased in the majority of women who received hypnosis.

Baylor University researcher Dr. Gary Elkins recently noted that “There is a real need to study emerging mind-body interactions to treating these ailments because many times medications are not an option.”

Twenty-six women who are breast cancer survivors received hypnotic relaxation therapy and were compared to 25 other breast cancer survivors who did not receive treatment in the study. The women who received hypnosis reported a 68 percent decrease in hot flashes. Anxiety, depression and insomnia also decreased.

Breast cancer survivors were chosen because the medications that are given to these women to help prevent the re occurrence of breast cancer often times cause them to go into menopause in a matter of days. Furthermore, hormone replacement therapy is not an option because of an increased risk of breast cancer recurrence associated with hormone therapy, thus creating a need for alternative mind-body treatments.

As a result of the encouraging outcomes of this study, Elkins has been awarded a $2.6 million dollar grant from the National Institutes of health for a much wider study. The new study will significantly increase the scope and number of patients participating. This in fact is the largest grant ever awarded by the NIH for this type of research.

A previous study carried out in Canada in 2003 also concluded that hypnosis appears to be a feasible and promising intervention for hot flashes. This study also noted the hypnotic intervention carried with it the potential to also improve the quality of life and insomnia issues for those experiencing hot flashes.

The research relating to the 26 women study was published in a recent edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.