the media is saying or covering ... hypnosis, complementary therapy, complementary
combination of hypnosis and local anaesthesia (LA)
for certain types of surgery can aid the healing
process and reduce drug use and time spent in hospital,
anaesthesiologists have found. The combination could also
help avoid cancer recurrence and metastases, according
to new research presented at the European Anaesthesiology
Congress in Amsterdam.
Professor Fabienne Roelants and Dr. Christine Watremez, from
the Department of Anaesthesiology at the Cliniques
Universitaires St. Luc, UCL, Brussels, Belgium, studied the
impact of using LA and hypnosis in certain kinds of breast
cancer surgery and in thyroidectomy (removal of all or part
of the thyroid gland).
"In all of these procedures local anaesthesia is
feasible but not, on its own, sufficient to ensure patient
In the first study, 18 women out of 78 had hypnosis for a
number of breast cancer surgical procedures quadrantectomy
(partial mastectomy), sentinel node biopsy (examination of
the first lymph node or group of lymph nodes likely to be
reached by metastasising cancer cells) and axillary
dissection (opening the armpit to examine or remove some or
all of the lymph nodes) while the rest had general
anaesthetic (GA) or the same operations. Although the
patients who were hypnotised spent a few minutes
more in the operating theatre, opioid drug use in the first
group was greatly diminished, as was time in the recovery
room and hospital stay.
In the thyroid study, the researchers compared the outcomes
of 18 patients in the LA/hypnosis group with 36 who had GA.
Both groups had video-assisted thyroidectomy, in an attempt
to decrease the invasiveness of the procedure without
reducing patient comfort. Once again drug use, recovery
room and hospital stay times were greatly reduced among
the LA / hypnosis group.
"In addition to reducing drug use and hospital stay time,
being able to avoid general anaesthesia in breast cancer
surgery is important because we know that local anaesthesia
can block the body's stress response to surgery and could
therefore reduce the possible spread of metastases,"
Professor Roelants says.
"Together with other anaesthesiologists at the hospital, we
are specialised in hypnosis," says Dr. Watremez. "Although
there are special precautions to be taken for example,
only the hypnotherapist should talk to the patient
during the procedure and should avoid negatives, which
unconsciousness cannot handle, and the surgeon needs to be
gentle, avoid any tugging in his movements, and be able to
remain cool in all circumstances it is a straightforward
procedure and appreciated by the patients."
"Imagine you are driving your car. You suddenly realise how
far you have driven, but for a long time your mind has been
elsewhere. This is extremely common, and is nothing more nor
less than a mild hypnotic trance a modified state of
consciousness, with a different perception of the world. The
principle of hypnosis is to focus one's attention on one
particular point," she says.
That point may be eye fixation, progressive muscle
relaxation, or the retrieval of a pleasant memory. That
hypnosis works in reducing the perception of pain has been
shown by a number of studies, including by imaging the brain
with position emission tomography (PET). Similar effects
have been shown by using functional magnetic resonance
imaging (MRI). Exactly how hypnosis works in this respect is
still under discussion. Some researchers believe that it
prevents information from reaching the higher cortical
regions that are responsible for the perception of pain.
Others believe that it permits a better response to pain by
activating pain-inhibiting paths more effectively.
"There is still a lot of debate around the exact mechanism
that allows hypnosis to reduce pain perception," says
Professor Roelants," but what it absolutely clear is that it
does so. The result is that one third of thyroidectomies and
a quarter of all breast cancer surgery carried out at the
UCL hospital are performed under local anaesthetic with the
patient under hypnosis."
There are no sex or age differences relating to
susceptibility to hypnosis, the researchers say. If the
patient is motivated, ready to co-operate, and trusts the
doctors, hypnosis will work. In addition to use in breast
cancer surgery and thyroidectomy, the practice can be used
in a number of other surgical procedures, for example
carotid artery surgery, inguinal hernia, knee arthroscopy,
gynaecological surgery, ophthalmology, ear nose and throat,
plastic surgery and egg retrieval for fertility
"We believe that our studies have shown considerable
benefits for the LA / hypnosis combination, and that such
benefits are not only for patients, but also for healthcare
systems. By using hypnosis combined with LA we can reduce
the costs involved in longer hospital stays, remove the need
for patients to use opioid drugs, and increase their overall
comfort and satisfaction levels. To date there are few
publications about the use of hypnosis in surgery, and we
hope that, by contributing to the body of evidence on its
efficacity, our research will encourage others to carry out
this procedure to the advantage of all concerned," Dr.
ESA (European Society of
therapies are offered in conjunction with our fellow
professionals. Where beneficial to you, we may suggest a
combo program, combining all or some of the therapies
For more details or to book an appointment for Hypnosis, Reiki, NLP,
contact: us (some out of office hour appointments may be
available from time to time)