Hypnosis is an adjuvant treatment of major depression (MD). Heart rate variability (HRV) can assess the autonomic nervous system, which is associated with MD, and HRV is decreased in MD patients. There is a lack of research on HRV changes before, during, and after the use of hypnosis in MD patients. A total of 21 MD patients participated in this study, and 5-minute electrocardiograms were recorded before, during, and after hypnosis. Compared with the prehypnotic condition, HRV parameters significantly (p < .01) increased in the hypnotic and posthypnotic conditions. The results suggest that hypnosis treatment should bring some functional improvement to the autonomic nervous system. HRV is potentially a useful tool that quantifies the physiological impact of hypnosis treatment in MD patients.
The authors evaluated the efficacies of audio-recorded hypnosis with background music and music without hypnosis in the reduction of emotional and physical disturbances in patients scheduled for breast biopsy in comparison with a control group. A total of 75 patients were randomly assigned to 3 different groups and evaluated at baseline and before and after breast biopsy using visual analog scales of stress, pain, depression, anxiety, fatigue, optimism, and general well-being. The results showed that before breast biopsy, the music group presented less stress and anxiety, whereas the hypnosis with music group presented reduced stress, anxiety, and depression and increased optimism and general well-being. After the biopsy, the music group presented less anxiety and pain, whereas the hypnosis group showed less anxiety and increased optimism.
Hypnotherapy’s effectiveness in improving and controlling chronic pain of various etiologies has been demonstrated by studies; the mechanism by which hypnosis does this is more complex than a simple induction of muscle relaxation. This study reveals, in addition to this mechanism, a deeper dimension of hypnotherapy from the vantage of a patient with a medical-surgical background, diagnosed with a pain disorder and major severe depressive disorder in addition to incurable painful symptoms, through treatment associated with hypnoanalysis. Following psychotherapy, which included some elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy, a complete remission of the anxious-depressive mood and the painful symptoms was achieved.