Hypnosis and Anxiety

There are many different treatment options available for anxiety, but one lesser known form of therapy is hypnosis. Hypnosis can help reduce one’s anxiety, whether it’s caused by a mental disorder, stress, or a medical procedure.

The Mayo Clinic even mentions hypnosis on their website, hypnosis “help[s] relieve symptoms of many diseases and conditions, such as stress, anxiety, insomnia or pain. Hypnosis can also reduce anxiety before a procedure or surgery”. The Mayo Clinic uses hypnosis as part of their Complementary and Integrative Medicine program which uses a combination of conventional and alternative medicine to “promote physical, mental, and spiritual wellness”.

A group of researchers conducted an eight week trial comparing the effectiveness of hypnosis and meditation. During the eight weeks, they separated 32 adults into four groups: those who were responsive to hypnosis, those who were unresponsive to hypnosis, those who were responsive to meditation, and those who were unresponsive to meditation, the unresponsive groups operating as the control. The hypnosis groups completed a daily self-hypnosis exercise while the meditation groups were given a meditation relaxation technique. It was found that the meditation and hypnosis groups both reported near identical rates of decrease in their anxiety.

In a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, hypnosis was compared to “nonhypnotic behavioral techniques” in lowering pain and anxiety in children during painful and traumatizing medical procedures. In the study, children receiving lumbar puncture and children receiving bone marrow aspiration were given hypnosis therapy, nonhypnotic therapy, or no additional treatment as a control. It was found that hypnosis was almost twice as effective as nonhypnotic techniques when it came to reducing preprocedural anxiety.

Hypnosis is an effective way to reduce anxiety and pain. When used in conjunction with conventional medicine, hypnosis can significantly help anxiety and improve patient wellness.


Benson H, Frankel F, H, Apfel R, Daniels M, D, Schniewind H, E, Nemiah J, C, Sifneos P, E, Crassweller K, D, Greenwood M, M, Kotch J, B, Arns P, A, Rosner B, Treatment of Anxiety: a Comparison of the Usefulness of Self-Hypnosis and a Meditational Relaxation Technique. Psychother Psychosom 1978;30:229-242

Mayo Clinic, Hypnosis http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/hypnosis/care-at-mayo-clinic/why-choose-mayo-clinic/prc-20019177 Retrieved May 6, 2017

Omsted, Richard W et al “Hypnosis and nonhypnotic techniques for reduction of pain and anxiety during painful procedures in children and adolescents with cancer” The Journal of Pediatrics 1982;101:1032-1035


Melvin S. Marsh is a practicing hypnotherapist in Augusta, Georgia with an interest in anxiety.  He performs hypnotherapy appointments both in person and worldwide via Skype.  He can be reached at http://www.afterhourshypnotherapy.com or afterhourshypnotherapy @ gmail.com or call our receptionist at (678) 658-8483 to make an appointment.

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