Clinical evidence for the effectiveness of hypnosis in the treatment of acute procedural pain was critically evaluated based on reports from randomized controlled clinical trials (RCTs). Results from the 29 RCTs meeting inclusion criteria suggest that hypnosis decreases pain compared to standard care and attention control groups and that it is at least as effective as comparable adjunct psychological or behavioral therapies. In addition, applying hypnosis in multiple sessions prior to the day of the procedure produced the highest percentage of significant results. Hypnosis was most effective in minor surgical procedures. However, interpretations are limited by considerable risk of bias. Further studies using minimally effective control conditions and systematic control of intervention dose and timing are required to strengthen conclusions.
Assessment of hypnotizability can provide important information for hypnosis research and practice. The Elkins Hypnotizability Scale (EHS) consists of 12 items and was developed to provide a time-efficient measure for use in both clinical and laboratory settings. The EHS has been shown to be a reliable measure with support for convergent validity with the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale, Form C (r = .821, p < .001). The current study examined the factor structure of the EHS, which was administered to 252 adults (51.3% male; 48.7% female). Average time of administration was 25.8 minutes. Four factors selected on the basis of the best theoretical fit accounted for 63.37% of the variance. The results of this study provide an initial factor structure for the EHS.
Hypnotic relaxation therapy (HRT) has been shown to reduce hot flashes in postmenopausal women and breast cancer survivors. While the biological mechanism by which HRT reduces hot flashes is unknown, it has been speculated that reduction of stress mediates the intervention’s effectiveness. The purpose of the present study was to examine the effect of HRT on a known biomarker of stress (cortisol) and changes in cortisol as a mediator. Sixty-two postmenopausal women received hypnotic relaxation therapy for hot flashes and completed measures of hot flashes in addition to providing cortisol samples at baseline and endpoint. HRT resulted in significantly decreased early evening salivary cortisol concentrations. However, changes in salivary cortisol concentrations did not mediate the effects of HRT.