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The Efficacy of Clinical Hypnosis with Headaches

A review of research on the efficacy of Clinical Hypnosis with Headaches and


Migraines by D. Corydon Hammond of the University of Utah School of Medicine
(2007) demonstrated that hypnosis meets the clinical psychology research criteria
for being a well-established and efficacious treatment being virtually free of side
effects, risks of adverse reactions, and ongoing expense associated with medication
treatments.

Hypnotic treatment used in the different studies of Hammond's review consisted of


induction, deepening, suggestions related to having less tension, anxiety and
apprehension, ego strengthening, visualization of arteries in the neck and head as
being swollen and throbbing and becoming smaller and more comfortable (Anderson
et al, 1975), preogressive relaxation and imagery with children (Olness et al, 1987),
relaxation and vascular manipulation (imagery of a cool helmet with freezer coils
behind a protective cover) (Emmerson and Trexter, 1999), eye fixation and
relaxation followed by imagery modification in which the patient visualized and
image of the headache gradually changing and suggestions to transform the pain
into sensations that were easier to tolerate and for transferring the pain from the
head to a less disabling part of the body (Melis et al, 1991), guided imagery (Mannix
et al, 1999), future oriented hypnotic imagery (imagining the self in the future, pain-
free) (Zitmand et al, 1992)

Issue 68
GILLANI and SMITH, Roosevelt University Stress Institute, Chicago, IL 60605, USA,
attempted to rigorously map the psychological effects of Zen meditation among
experienced practitioners.
Methods: 59 Zen meditators with at least 6 years experience practised 1 hour of
traditional Zazen seated meditation. A control group of 24 college students silently read
popular magazines for 1 hour. All subjects were assessed before meditation/relaxation
using the Smith Relaxation States Inventory (SRSI), the Smith Relaxation
Dispositions/ Motivations Inventory (SRD/MI) and the Smith Relaxation Beliefs
Inventory (SRBI). After meditation/relaxation, subjects were assessed again on the
SRSI.
Results: Assessments taken prior to practice revealed that meditators were less likely
than control subjects to believe in God and more likely to believe in �Inner
Wisdom�; and meditators were more likely to display the relaxation dispositions
�Mental Quiet�, �Mental Relaxation� and �Timeless/Boundless/Infinite�.
Following practice of meditation/ relaxation, meditators showed greater increases than
control subjects in the relaxation states �Mental Quiet�, �Love and
Thankfulness� and �Prayerfulness�. Meditators also showed reductions in
�Worry�.
Discussion: The investigators concluded that the results supported Smith�s ABC
Relaxation Theory.
Gillani NB, Smith JC. Zen meditation and ABC relaxation theory: an exploration of relaxation
states, beliefs, dispositions, and motivations. Journal of Clinical Psychology 57 (6): 839-46. Jun
2001.

Comments: A most reassuring result!