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More patients turning to hypnosis to help ease symptoms

For many - myself included - the notion of hypnosis conjures up images of practitioners swinging a large pocket watch in a pendulum-like motion and repeating, "you're getting very sleepy." But such stereotypes aren't an accurate representation of the technique and they discredit the potential benefits to patients seeking to make behavioral changes - such as quitting smoking or treating anxiety and fear.

As Stanford's David Spiegel, MD, director of the Stanford Center for Integrative Medicine, commented today in the New York Times, "It is an effective and inexpensive way to manage medical care... People think hypnosis is about giving up control. But it’s actually giving control back to the patients."

More from the article:

Used for more than two centuries to treat a host of medical problems, particularly pain management and anxiety, hypnosis is now available to patients at some of the most respected medical institutions in the country, including Stanford Hospital, the Cleveland Clinic, Mount Sinai Medical Center and Beth Israel Medical Center in New York....A study by radiologists at Harvard Medical School, published in 2000, found that patients who received hypnosis during surgery required less medication, had fewer complications and shorter procedures than patients who did not have hypnosis. In a follow-up study in 2002, the radiologists concluded that if every patient undergoing catheterization were to receive hypnosis, the cost savings would amount to $338 per patient.

Previously: Older adults increasingly turning to complementary medicine

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