Hypnotherapy for Cancer Treatment Side Effects
Hypnosis has been specifically employed in the palliative care of cancer patients to reduce symptoms associated with radiation and chemotherapy, such as pain, nausea, fatigue, hot flashes, and sleep dysfunction. The practice of self-hypnosis helps patients achieve a relaxed, therapeutic, hypnotic state.
Clinical hypnosis has been defined as a mind-body therapy that involves a deeply relaxed state, individualized mental imagery, and therapeutic suggestion. Clinical hypnosis has a very long history, with reports of medical application dating back to the 18th century. Some have suggested that there is even evidence for the use of clinical hypnosis since ancient times, with inscriptions of hypnotic-like phenomena on a stone stele from Egypt during the reign of Ramses XII, some 3,000 years ago. The word hypnosis, derived from the Greek word for sleep, was coined by James Braid in 1841. Clinical hypnosis is a mind-body therapy, one of the fastest-growing and most commonly employed categories of complementary and alternative medicine. Mind-body interventions such as clinical hypnosis are also becoming popular for their ease of integration into an overall cancer survivorship treatment plan with relatively low risks.
Pain: Hypnosis is the most frequently cited form of nonpharmacologic cognitive pain control. Hypnotherapy for the management of chronic pain has been demonstrated to provide relief for the symptoms of pain in cancer, arthritis, sickle cell disease, temporomandibular disorder, and fibromyalgia. Hypnosis has demonstrated positive outcomes for the reduction of chronic and procedural-related pain in oncology.
A study of breast cancer patients found that those assigned to treatment (standard care or expressive-supportive therapy) that included clinical hypnosis demonstrated significantly less pain. In addition, patients who underwent hypnosis reported significantly less of an increase in pain over time.
Nausea: It has been reported that 70% to 80% of all cancer patients who receive chemotherapy experience nausea and vomiting. Clinical hypnosis has been studied for relief of nausea and vomiting secondary to chemotherapy. In a randomized study of the efficacy of hypnosis in reducing nausea and vomiting in children receiving chemotherapy, researchers found children participating in hypnosis had less anticipatory nausea and vomiting and less overall vomiting compared with controls who did not undergo hypnosis. This finding was replicated in a later study also demonstrating that patients using clinical hypnosis showed a reduced need for antiemetic medication.
Fatigue: Cancer-related fatigue has long been recognized as one of the most difficult symptoms to manage during cancer treatment, and it remains the most common unrelieved symptom of cancer. Research suggests that fatigue is a multidimensional syndrome which results from both cancer and cancer therapies, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Estimates of the prevalence of fatigue in cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy are diverse. Literature suggests that fatigue can affect 60% to 90% of patients receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Hot Flashes: Clinical hypnosis for the treatment of hot flashes has been investigated. In two studies of breast cancer survivors, participants received five sessions of hypnotherapy, (provided approximately weekly) and were instructed in self-hypnosis. The hypnotic intervention was individualized to facilitate a hypnotic state, feelings of coolness, and control of symptoms.
Sleep: Hypnosis can also be an effective treatment option for cancer patients suffering from sleep problems. Cancer patients experience sleeping difficulties for a number of reasons, including anxiety related to diagnosis, depression, pain, fatigue, and other treatment-related side effects.
How Is Hypnosis Currently Used in Cancer Care? Hypnosis has been specifically employed in the palliative care of cancer patients to reduce symptoms associated with radiation and chemotherapy, such as pain, nausea, fatigue, hot flashes, and sleep dysfunction. Length of hypnotic treatment varies depending on the nature and severity of the problem. Clinical hypnosis treatment for cancer patients may range from a single session to multiple sessions. In research, cancer patients undergoing clinical hypnotherapy typically receive approximately five sessions or more of clinical hypnosis, each involving a hypnotic induction and instruction in self-hypnosis. The practice of self-hypnosis helps patients achieve a relaxed, therapeutic, hypnotic state.
Hypnosis is frequently offered in conjunction with other therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Research suggests that using a combination of hypnosis and CBT improved outcomes more than those achieved for at least 70% of patients who used CBT alone. Additionally, CBT techniques can be utilized in a hypnotic context by preceding the CBT technique with a hypnotic induction.
Clinical hypnosis is a viable option for cancer patients, who, once trained in self-hypnosis, may employ these techniques to manage myriad symptoms.
In particular, hypnosis as an adjunct treatment for cancer patients and survivors can be effective in treating pain, nausea, fatigue, hot flashes, and sleep disorders. While current research into the efficacy of clinical hypnosis for the palliative treatment of cancer patients is extremely encouraging. The existing evidence from all clinical research supports the inclusion of clinical hypnosis as an effective adjunct therapy in the palliative cancer treatment milieu, and therefore hypnosis should be considered for patients with cancer on a case-by-case basis, and with a Doctors Approval.
Kelly Granite Enck, CHt. B.A. Hypnotherapist is trained in Clinical Hypnosis and Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Analgesia Hypnosis, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Rapid Resolution Therapy, (RRT), Emotional Freedom Technique EFT, Eye Movement Desensitization, and Reprocessing, (EMDR). If you have any questions call me Kelly at Doylestown Hypnosis, in the Historic District of Doylestown 215-840-0684 or Book your Phone Hypnosis or In-Office Hypnosis at Doylestown Hypnosis with the BOOK NOW button.
Ref: Clinical Hypnosis for the Palliative Care of Cancer, by Gary Elkins, Ph.D., William Fisher, MA, and Jim Sliwinski, MA, 8/28/2012
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