Hypnosis Research

Research findings of Alfred A. Barrios, Ph.D., compare recovery rates for various modalities of therapy.  He found that:

  • Psychoanalysis can be expected to have a 38% recovery rate after approximately 600 sessions.
  • Behavior therapy can be expected to have a 72% recovery rate after an average of 22 sessions.
  • Hypnotherapy can be expected to have a 93% recovery rate after an average of 6 sessions

(Barrios, 1970)

Hypnosis can be used to help clients for an unlimited amount of personal issues.  Issues from building confidence, recovering from a traumatic loss, to even prepping for chemotherapy.

Listed below are some medical issues and research to back up hypnosis as a prominent option for healing:


Research has shown that hypnosis helps to alleviate the subjective distress of patients with asthma, finding that asthma attacks were less frequent attacks, and less medication was needed for treatment.
(Maher-Loughnan, 1970)


Research has shown that following hypnotherapy sessions, patients with arthritis reported noteworthy decreases in pain.
(Domangue, Margolis, Lieberman & Kaji, 1985)


Women with metastatic breast cancer who received group hypnosis therapy were able to reduce their pain experience by 50% compared to a control group.
(Spiegel & Bloom, 1983)

At a 10-year follow-up of these same women, the hypnosis treatment group had double the survival rate of the control group.
(Spiegel, Bloom, Kraemer & Gottheil, 1989)

Both adolescent and adult cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy have fewer symptoms of anticipatory nausea and vomiting following hypnotic interventions.
(Zeltzer, LeBaron & Zeltzer, 1984)


A study using hypnotherapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) over a sixteen-week timeline resulted in a significant increase of improvement with hypnotherapy clients vice the clients receiving traditional counseling.
(Alladin & Alibhai, 2000)


Research shows that stress can affect the progression of dermatitis and eczema, and reducing levels of stress can help significantly.
(Kantor, 1990)

Fear of Flying

50% of patients afraid of flying had seen improvement after hypnosis.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Hypnotherapy showed to have above an 80% success rate for abdominal pain and distension.
(Whorwell, Prior & Faragher, 1987)

Migraine and Headaches

Hypnosis has had positive results as a highly effective treatment of chronic migraine headaches. Clients who underwent hypnosis had a reduction in severity and number of attacks compared to a control group who were provided traditional medications. The clients who reported no headaches for over three months, a year later, were clients who had received hypnotherapy.
(Anderson, Basker & Dalton, 1975)


Hypnosis was found to be effective in reducing pain and discomfort associated with repeated unpleasant medical interventions in a study of children with cancer.
Hilgard, E.R. (1977)

Public speaking

The group who received hypnosis had a greater expectation for change and that change was achieved, than those who had non-hypnotic treatment.

Smoking Cessation

A study focusing on smokers had individuals attend three sessions of hypnotherapy to help quit stop smoking.  81% had stopped smoking after the treatment ended, and the findings at the twelve-month recourse approximately 50% remained non-smokers.  95% reported to be satisfied with the treatment they had received.
(Elkins & Rajab, 2004)

Stress and Hypertension

A trial compared hypnosis with biofeedback or a combination of both. All groups had significant reduction in blood pressure.  However, at the six-month follow-up only patients receiving hypnosis had maintained the reduction.
(Friedman & Taub, 1978)

Surgery Recovery

Clients that trained with hypnosis before surgery were found to have significantly shorter hospital stays.
(Asheville & Spiegel, 1998)

Test Anxiety

Students who were taught self-hypnosis, showed a notable reduction in anxiety scores than a control group.


Anderson, J.A., Basker, M.A, Dalton, R. (1975). Migraine and hypnotherapy, International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 23, 48-58.

Assen, A. & Alisha, A. (2000). The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 55, 2.

Asheville, N.C. Spiegel, D. (1998). Report in the Harvard Mental Health Letter, 15, 5-6.

Barrios, A. A. (1970). Hypnotherapy: A reappraisal, Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice.

Brewin,B. Hypnotherapy Research Aritcles Retrieved from https://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/phi-natural-therapies-submissions-containerpage/$file/Individual%20Hypnosis%20Attachment.pdf.

Domangue, B.B., Margolis, C.G., Lieberman, D. & Kaji, H. (1985). Biochemical correlates of hypnoanalgesia in arthritic pain patients. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 46, 235-238.

Elkins G.R., Rajab M.H. (2004). Clinical hypnosis for smoking cessation: Preliminary results of a three session intervention. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. 52 (1), 73-81.

Friedman, H., Taub, H. (1978). A six month follow-up of the use of hypnosis and biofeedback procedures in essential hypertension. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 20, 184-188.

Hilgard, E.R. (1977). Divided consciousness: Multiple controls in human thought and action.

Kantor, S.D. (1990). Stress and psoriasis. Psoriasis Research Institute, 46 (4), 321-322.

Maher-Loughnan, G.P. (1970). Hypnosis and autohypnosis for the treatment of asthma. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 18, 1- 14.

Spiegel, D. & Bloom, J.R. (1983). Group therapy and hypnosis reduce metastatic breast carcinoma pain. Psychosomatic Medicine, 45, 333-339.

Spiegel, D., Bloom, J.R., Kraemer, H.,C. & Gottheil, E. (1989). Effect of psychosocial treatment on survival of patients with metatastic breast cancer. Lancet, 888-891.

Whorwell P.J., Prior A., Faragher E.B. (1988). Controlled trial of hypnotherapy in the treatment of severe refractory irritable-bowel syndrome. Lancet, 1232-1234.

Zeltzer, L., LeBaron, S., Zeltzer, P.M. (1984). The effectiveness of behavioral intervention for reduction of nausea and vomiting in children and adolescents receiving chemotherapy. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2, 683-690.