Hypnosis

Rating

Category: Complementary and Alternative Therapies

Injury Type: Acute

What is it?

Hypnosis is derived from the Greek word hypnos, meaning "sleep". Hypnosis involves the use of an 'exercise' to bring about deep relaxation and an altered state of consciousness, also known as a trance. A person in a trance or deeply focused state is unusually responsive to an idea or image. Hypnosis can teach people how to master their own state of awareness. By doing this patients can affect their own bodily functions and psychological responses.

How does it work?

During hypnosis, a person's body relaxes while his or her thoughts become more focused and attentive. The effect of being hypnotised may reduce blood pressure and heart rate, and alters certain types of brain wave activity. In this relaxed state, a person may feel at ease physically yet fully awake mentally. In this state of deep concentration people are thought to be highly responsive to suggestion. There are several stages of hypnosis. The process begins with reframing the problem; becoming relaxed, then absorbed (deeply engaged in the words or images presented by a hypnotherapist); dissociating (letting go of critical thoughts); responding (complying whole-heartedly to a hypnotherapist's suggestions); returning to usual awareness; and reflecting on the experience.

Is it effective?

There are no studies examining the effect of hypnosis compared to a control group for whiplash.

Are there any disadvantages?

Some people can enter a hypnotic state more easily than others, therefore the treatment may not be suitable for everyone. Generally, hypnotherapists are not medical practitioners, and if this is the case the treatment will not be covered by Medicare.

Where do you get it?

Hypnotherapists provide hypnotherapy, and they should be suitably qualified to practice. Hypnotherapists are listed in the Yellow Pages.

Recommendations

The use of hypnotherapy following whiplash cannot be recommended because of a lack of research evidence. More research is required.

Key References

Cotter, AC, Memmo, P & Kim, N 2002, 'Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the Treatment of Whiplash Disorders', in Whiplash, eds GA Malanga & S Nadler, Hanley and Belfus Inc., Philadelphia, pp. 373-391.
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