Hypnosis in Treatment of Major Depression: An Analysis of Heart Rate Variability

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.