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Self-Hypnosis: Mental Health and Chronic Pain Treatment

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Furman chapter.

We have all seen videos of a hypnotist swinging a pocket watch in front of a person’s face and chanting. The effect of this type of hypnosis is debated. But what if it could be used in a clinical setting to fight emotional and physical pain? What if self-hypnosis could help people manage chronic pain or mental health problems? Researchers by the name of Adam Eason and Benjamin Parris set out to answer this question.  

Eason and Parris compiled a meta-analysis study of 22 randomized controlled trials in which self-hypnosis was compared to other treatments, such as standard care, psychological therapy, and others. They focused on the use of these to treat chronic pain, childbirth pain, stress, anxiety, hypertension, asthma, allergies, and more. They compiled information about the amount of relief a patient would experience after traditional treatments and after self-hypnosis. 

It was concluded that in accompaniment with at least 3 training sessions, self-hypnosis is effective. Many of the studies that they reviewed provided compelling evidence that hypnosis is at least as effective as other treatment tools. In studies dealing particularly with stress, anxiety, and hypertension, it was found that self-hypnosis improved patients outlook and increased the effectiveness of other treatments that they received in the future. 

Self-hypnosis is revealing itself to be a reliable alternative to traditional care and medication for much pain and mental health management. This could be a big breakthrough in teaching patients how to manage pain without dependence on pills or doctor visits. The freedom and control that this practice could provide patients with would be remarkable. 

This is a skill that needs to be taught by a professional. I use this technique as a treatment for anxiety, but I had several training sessions with a psychologist before it worked effectively when I used it on my own. If this is something that you think would be beneficial in your life, you should reach out to a trained specialist to learn how to perform effective and healthy self-hypnosis. In addition to reaching out to a professional, I recommend reading the full research study below to understand the true scope of possibilities with self-hypnosis. 


Eason, A. D., & Parris, B. A. (2019). Clinical applications of self-hypnosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice, 6(3), 262–278. https://doi.org/10.1037/cns0000173


Margaret Bovard is a senior at Furman University from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and she is a Health Science major. In addition to being a writer for HerCampus, Margaret works in a cardiology lab on campus and participates in theater. She is very passionate about sustainability and hopes to be an alpaca farmer one day. Margaret is an old soul, in her free time she knits, cross stitches, and complains about her back pain :). She can not wait to see the impact that HerCampus will have on Furman's Campus.
Mackenzie Smith is the Campus Correspondent and Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus at Furman University. She is a senior majoring in Public Health with a minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Mackenzie has a passion for making sure women feel empowered and important throughout all stages of life which can be seen through her work with Girlology and The Homeless Period Project.