A Drug-Free Way To Combat Cancer Symptoms
Cancer is the last diagnosis anyone wants to hear. Treatment can be unpredictable, scary, and very physically taxing. Hypnotherapy for cancer treatment can help, though, as it has been shown to be a safe and effective way of addressing a number of cancer and cancer treatment symptoms along with traditional therapy. Hypnosis is a naturally occurring state of altered awareness whereby the subconscious mind of a willing subject is open to accepting beneficial suggestions that have been given to it. Cancer patients can use hypnotherapy as a complementary therapy help cope with symptoms and side effects of their cancer treatment. Evidence suggests that hypnotherapy can help with everything from nausea and fatigue to pain and anxiety. Hypnosis can mitigate these problems by creating relaxing and healing brainwave patterns in patients. These can be beneficial when performed alongside conventional treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation.
Hypnotherapy and Radiation
Hypnotherapy is most beneficial to patients undergoing radiotherapy when used in conjunction with another form of therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). On average, patients who received CBT plus hypnotherapy were 32% less fatigued than those who received only CBT, according to a 2012 study.
A separate study found that a significant number of patients who received hypnotherapy before radiotherapy sessions reported an improved sense of mental and overall wellbeing.
Hypnotherapy and Chemotherapy
Persistent nausea and vomiting, which impacts 10% to 25% of patients receiving chemotherapy, is a significant burden for patients. Not only does it increases costs for the health-care system by an average of $1,854.70 a day, but it also increases the chance of a patient abandoning treatment due to the suffering associated with anticipatory nausea and vomiting.
Studies show that hypnotherapy can successfully alleviate and even prevent anticipatory nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy. By using hypnosis to suggest a desensitization to the stimulus that triggers nausea/vomiting and promote an alternative response to the stimulus, patients can experience a significant decrease in the occurrence of anticipatory nausea and vomiting. Not only can hypnotherapy be just as effective as the anti-anxiety or anti-nausea medications typically used in these instances, but it also does so without any negative side effects.
Hypnotherapy and Pain
When it comes to surgical cancer treatment, hypnosis has shown to effectively manage pain and emotional distress, as well as enhance recovery. A study compared surgical patients who received hypnotherapy to a control group and found that those in the hypnotherapy group had better outcomes than 89% of patients in the control group. One trial found that surgical patients who received hypnotherapy required less propofol and lidocaine than patients who received nondirective empathic listening. The hypnosis patients reported less pain intensity, nausea, fatigue, discomfort, and emotional upset.
“Natalie Martinez was 47 when she was diagnosed with stage I breast cancer and was told she’d need surgery to remove the tumor. But she was terrified of general anesthesia. Years earlier, her mother had encountered difficulty regaining consciousness after an operation, and the experience had affected Martinez. ‘I wasn’t sure I’d wake up,’ Martinez says, ‘and when I heard I needed surgery, I wanted to take any other route possible.’ So, when her doctor at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, in Houston, suggested using a local pain medication and hypnosis instead of general anesthesia, she readily agreed.
A week before the surgery, Martinez met Rosalinda Engle, M.A., a mind-body intervention specialist with the Integrative Medicine Program in the Department of Palliative, Rehabilitation and Integrative Medicine at MD Anderson. Engle prompted Martinez to think of three or four places where she felt comfortable and at ease.
The day of the operation, Engle guided Martinez into a hypnotic state that she describes this way: ‘It’s as if your body is about to fall asleep and your mind is very comfortable and relaxed, and pleasant images enter your thoughts. It’s like dreaming while awake. It’s a personal walk down memory lane.’ Engle brought Martinez to her chosen places throughout the course of the 90-minute procedure.
Martinez describes the experience as pleasant, for surgery, but the benefit was most apparent in the recovery room. ‘The most amazing part,’ she says, ‘was when I woke up and was taken to the recovery room. The nurses couldn’t believe I’d just come out of surgery. They brought me a wheelchair, but I could walk. I said I was fine — just hungry and thirsty. Then I walked to the main building to get some lunch with my husband and my sister.’”
Find Out How Hypnotherapy Can Help You
At Hypnotherapy of North Georgia, we are here to help you through your treatment process. If you or a loved one is undergoing cancer treatment, consider hypnotherapy to mitigate the unpleasant symptoms. Questions or concerns? Contact us or call us at 678-353-3243 to schedule your consultation today. We want you to feel better.