Hypnosis and Pain Management

In a media release in May 2012, the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) had this to say about hypnosis and pain management:

Hypnosis can be used for all patients for pain relief including, in some instances, as a form of analgesia for surgery, a Perth conference of anaesthetists and pain specialists will be told tomorrow.

New Zealand psychiatrist and pain medicine specialist, Dr Bob Large, from the Auckland Regional Pain Service says about 10 to 15 per cent of the population is highly hypnotisable and could potentially undergo surgery, such as gallbladder or thyroid removal, without anaesthetic.

However, Dr Large will tell the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists conference the rest of the population can still benefit from hypnosis to control their pain levels through suggestions made by a specialist that can change a patient’s expectations of pain. This has been shown to be effective in child birth and for dealing with cancer and chronic pain and pain following medical procedures.

“Most of us can get some sort of pain control by just being engaged in a good clinical interaction with good hypnotic technique,” he says.

“This means in the pre-operative period, anaesthetists and other clinicians can use a set of instructions and suggestions for the patient, creating expectations that are positive rather than potentially alarmist.”

You can read the original media release here

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