Hypnosis and Cancer

When some people think of cancer, the most common treatment is chemotherapy. Unfortunately, there is a good chance that chemotherapy can be even more disastrous than the cancer itself. The cancer industry itself is approximately worth a whopping $125 billion dollars, the majority of it coming from the these types of treatments and medications. Many have started to suspect “Big Pharma” is only in things to make a buck, and whether that concern is legitimate or not by various groups, there has been a push to find other methods of treating cancer.

Fortunately, hypnosis has been found to be successful as an adjunct treatment. In 2015, a nurse and researcher at the City of Hope Cancer Center concluded an experiment in the treatment of cancer with hypnosis. The research kept track of many common symptoms that patients experience when undergoing traditional medicine treatments, including fatigue, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, and pain. It was found that out of 150 patients, 117 (or 78%) of those who used hypnosis felt a significant reduction in symptoms.  As of late 2016, the manuscript was still in preparation.

This is not the first time research has shown positive correlations between hypnosis and cancer relief.  In 2005, experts from hospitals and other medical institutions studied the impact of hypnotherapy on 20 hospice cancer patients. While the patients were experiencing insomnia, pain, fatigue, anxiety, itchiness, and more, hypnotherapy was introduced. Researchers even established that the “best time for hypnotherapy to be offered to cancer patients is right at the time of diagnosis.”

In 2013, examinations from experts the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the City of Hope Cancer Center confirmed that hypnosis is beneficial in surgery and other invasive procedures that treat cancer, such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and metastatic disease. It also has unique advantages for patients: the improvement of self-esteem, involvement in self-care, and return of locus of control.

One key advantage to hypnotherapy is the fact the continued efficacy despite continued use. This means that as contrary to many traditional medicines, hypnotherapy does not lose its effectiveness no matter how much it is used and in fact will tend to become more effective over time due to conditioning. This is particularly useful because other medicines may require incremental increases in doses in order to remain effective. As one’s body becomes progressively more resistant or immune to the medicine, it also becomes more dangerous for your body to take and handle the increase in doses. Being a natural remedy, hypnotherapy has virtually no downside.

The reason hypnosis works so well in treating cancer is due to the treatment’s ability to deeply relax one’s body while the mind remains active. This has multiple benefits. Firstly, placing your body in such deep relaxation relieves much of the symptoms that a patient may be experiencing or may be bound to experience. Additionally, some patients may feel more comfortable and in control of their situation. Needless to say, having cancer and undergoing therapies can be exhausting. Knowing how to cope and ease symptoms can make all the difference.



Montgomery, G. H., Schnur, J. B. and Kravits, K. (2013), Hypnosis for cancer care: Over 200 years young. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, 63: 31–44. doi:10.3322/caac.21165


Melvin S. Marsh is a certified hypnotherapist in Augusta, Georgia whose husband just came out of surgery for bladder cancer. He performs hypnotherapy appointments both in person and worldwide via Skype. He can be reached at http://www.afterhourshypnotherapy.com or afterhourshypnotherapy @ gmail.com .