Hypnosis May Help Reduce Pain and Anxiety After Surgery, Says Study

hypnosis pain anxiety

Trending News: Promising new findings for hypnosis

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a natural way to cope with pain in the days following a complicated surgery? Moreover, what would it be like to have a practical, mindful approach to surgical anxiety?

Well, according to a new study published in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis (IJCEH), hypnosis could make for viable options.

I’m not making this up.

According to the study, hypnosis, delivered through pre-recorded soundtracks, helped a group of patients ameliorate their pain while recovering from total knee replacement surgery (TKR).

What’s more, these hypnotic interventions also lowered their anxiety throughout the surgical process, causing them to catastrophize less around pain fears.

The study

For this study, U.S. and Malaysian investigators randomly assigned 25 participants hypnotic soundtracks as part of TKR. Patients were monitored for six months after the study to gauge their impressions of pain and overall anxiety levels.

The results showed that for people who listened to the hypnotic recordings, their perceptions of pain were moderately reduced. Moreover, these same patients experienced significantly less post-surgical acute pain and perioperative anxiety.

In clinical terms, perioperative anxiety can be described as intense feelings of worry in the run-up leading to a procedure. An example might be fearing death after open heart surgery or concerns about intense pain after a shoulder replacement.

Investigators believe the findings from this study warrant a full clinical trial to assess how prerecorded hypnosis may help others undergoing TKR.

Previous Hypnosis Studies

Previous research related to pain amelioration and hypnosis has shown promising results. A 2008 IJCEH study found that hypnotic interventions significantly helped people to manage chronic back pain better.

A 2018 pilot study published in the Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine showed hypnotherapy assisted sufferers of chronic pancreatitis experience less intense pain during flare-ups.

Clinical hypnosis has also been shown to reduce feelings of depression and anxiety among people struggling with mixed episode mood disorders.

At present, some medical institutions, such as Northwestern Medical Center in Chicago, already use hypnotherapy as part of a comprehensive treatment approach for patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

At one time, the term “hypnosis” was associated with a woo-woo factor, thanks to misrepresentations in the popular media. But in recent years, interest in the study of hypnotic interventions has experienced a resurgence as many healthcare providers (and their patients) search for natural approaches to wellness.

So, will your doctor prescribe a hypnotic recording in the future for pain and anxiety? It’s too soon to say, but according to existing lines of research, it’s certainly a possibility.

Have you undergone hypnosis as part of a medical procedure? If so, what was your experience? Please share your comments below.

About John D. Moore 391 Articles
Dr. John Moore is a licensed counselor and Editor-in-Chief of Guy Counseling. A journalist and blogger, he writes about a variety of topics related to wellness. His interests include technology, outdoor activities, science, and men's health. Check out his show --> The Men's Self Help Podcast


  1. I’ve been a professional hypnotist for many years and have seen the process help people with chronic pain, nausea related to morning sickness or chemotherapy as well the stress associated with tinnitus. Hypnosis can help a person release stress and become more optimistic, there is a saying that goes, “people that feel better, heal better.” As for my own experience, I have found self-hypnosis to be a great tool when experiencing poor sleep quality due to stress.

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