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Over 9000 patients have surgery with hypnosis

25th July 2017

Hypno-sedation and local anaesthesia is a valuable alternative to traditional anaesthetic techniques says Professor Marie-Elisabeth Faymonville, head of the Pain Clinic at Liege University Hospital in Belgium who is presenting at the EUROPEAN CONGRESS OF HYPNOSIS 2017 in Manchester in August.

Professor Marie-Elisabeth Faymonville is head of the Pain Clinic at Liege University Hospital in Belgium, has operated on more than 6,000 patients using hypnosis combined with a light local anaesthetic. She enjoys teaching patients self-hypnosis and self-care learning such that they are able to get out of the vicious circle of chronic pain.

Hypnotic strategies to optimize the management of pain

Since 1992, hypnosis has become routine practice in our surgery services. Revivication of pleasant life experiences has served as the hypnotic substratum in a series of over 9,000 patients. In retrospective studies followed by randomised prospective studies, we have confirmed the usefulness of hypnosedation (hypnosis in combination with conscious IV sedation) and local anaesthesia as a valuable alternative to traditional anaesthetic techniques 1.

Medical hypnosis is also a safe and effective complementary technique in the treatment of chronic pain syndromes. Learning self-hypnosis/self-care improves not only pain but also psychological factors such as depression, anxiety, pain disability and improves patient’s global impression of treatment effectiveness 2.

The relevance of mind-body interventions to reduce emotional distress in breast cancer patients was also studied. Self-hypnosis/self-care learning decreases distress and fatigue, insomnia and increases quality of life, as well as emotional functioning in these cancer patients 3.

In a context of a socio-economic crisis, it is essential to develop health intervention treatments with a significant effectiveness combined with a low cost for the patient. Futures studies should consider comparing self-care learning and self-hypnosis interventions separately to disentangle the effect of hypnosis from the effect of self-care learning in the management of chronic pain.

(1)          FAYMONVILLE ME, MAMBOURG PH, JORIS J, VRIJENS B, FISSETTE J, ALBERT A, LAMY M, Psychological approaches during conscious sedation.  Hypnosis versus stress reducing strategies. A prospective randomized study, Pain 1997, 73 : 361-367.

(2)          VANHAUDENHUYSE A, GILLET A, MALAISE N, SALAMUN I, BARSICS C, GROSDENT S, MAQUET D, NYSSEN AS, FAYMONVILLE ME, Efficacy and cost-effectiveness: a study of different approaches in a tertiary pain centre, European Journal of Pain, 2015, 19(10):1437-1446.


SCHROEDER H, WAGENER A, DUPUIS G, JERUSALEM G, A non-randomized comparison study of self-hypnosis, yoga and cognitive behavioural therapy to reduce emotional distress in breast cancer patients, The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 2016, In press


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