Scientific Basis for Medical Support Hypnotherapy

IBH Director Conducts Clinical Trial of IBH Methods

Overactive Bladder Syndrome
“Hypnotherapy for Treatment of Overactive Bladder: Randomized Controlled Trial Pilot Study”
Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, 2011Nov;17(6):308-13. Komesu, YM, Sapien, RE, Rogers, RG, Ketai, LH

A recent study at the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque shows the effectiveness of the IBH hypnotherapy methods in comparison to behavioral therapy alone. The population studied was women who suffer with overactive bladder (OAB) syndrome. OAB syndrome, affecting 17% of all women in the United States, is experienced as urinary urgency, increased frequency, nocturia (need to urinate often at night), and sometimes with incontinence. Along with the physical symptoms, women with OAB also experience stress, embarrassment and decreased self-esteem.

IBH director, medical researcher and Chief of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Dr. Robert Sapien, designed the study using the methodology developed by Tim Simmerman Sierra, one of the directors of the IBH. Sapien said the objective of the study “was to gather data to compare hypnotherapy to an already proven standard treatment, in this case, behavioral therapy.”

Conclusion: Both groups showed improvement with treatment; however, the hypnotherapy group showed significantly higher scores in the effective relief of symptoms and improvement in quality of life, than the behavior therapy group.

The hypnotherapy group had an overall improvement of 67% (in only three sessions), while the behavioral therapy group only 42% improvement.

The research team (Yuko M. Komesu, MD; Robert E. Sapien, MD; Rebecca G. Rogers, MD; and Loren H. Ketai, MD) concluded: “This pilot study is notable in that the hypnotherapy group had superior global improvement in their OAB symptoms compared with behavioral therapy alone.”

Dr. Sapien added as a side note, that the group of women in the study who did not receive hypnotherapy (the control group) indicated that they were disappointed that they did not receive hypnotherapy. After the study was completed, they were given the option of returning to have the hypnotherapy protocol. All but one of the women chose to return for the added benefit of hypnotherapy.

Preoperative Use of Hypnosis

One area of particular interest now is the preoperative use of hypnosis to prepare patients for surgery. This has been found to significantly reduce the pain/unpleasantness/discomfort experienced post-operatively as well as reducing the amount of pain medications required, and reducing the overall recovery time.

A major study of preoperative hypnosis for breast cancer surgery patients was published in September 2007 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute,(JNCI Vol. 99, Number 17). This study used only a 15-minute preoperative hypnosis session. The results showed:

  • The hypnosis reduced costs to the institution by $772.71 per patient.
  • Hypnosis reduced the time in surgery by an average of 10.6 and also showed a significant reduction in use of pain medications that are titrated to patient’s condition.

For the full study, go to:

Effects of hypnosis on post-operative hot flashes in breast cancer surgery patients.

The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Vol 26, No 31 (November 1), 2008: pp. 5008-5010, found: “Hypnosis appears to reduce perceived hot flashes in breast cancer survivors and may have additional benefits such as reduced anxiety and depression, and improved sleep.”

For the full study, go to:

The BBC published a story of a man using hypnosis as effective anesthesia for surgical procedure on a smashed bone in the thumb

Hypnosis to relieve IBS symptoms

A wonderful overview of many studies on the effectiveness of hypnosis to relieve IBS symptoms can be found at: