Date Published: 18 September 2005

Hypnosis and pain, even for cystoscopy procedures

Health News from Australia.

There are still some situations in which physicians cannot use pain relief. In such cases modern medical hypnosis can be invaluable.

While most men would wince and cross their legs at the mere thought of having a cystoscopy, a procedure during which a thin probe is inserted into the urethra, medics can now harness the power of thought to avoid even the acute discomfort associated with such a painful procedure.

A visiting American expert in hypnosis, Dr. Michael Nash said that for some patients hypnotherapy can remove the discomfort and pain associated with a host of medical conditions and clinical procedures, even one as irksome as cytoscopy.

Dr. Nash, who is in Sydney to give the keynote address to the 35th Annual Congress of the Australian Society of Hypnosis, has successfully treated a 25 year-old man to feel no pain from a cystoscopy despite the patient having to undergo the procedure every three months over a five-year period.

" While hypnotherapy's efficacy has been known for decades we are only just beginning to understand how and why it works on people's brains to reduce the impact of pain," says Dr Nash, a professor of psychology at the University of Tennessee (USA).

" As we learn more we will be able to make our clinical interventions crisper and determine who can best benefit from hypnotherapy."

As well as his keynote address on Wednesday (14 September), Dr. Nash will lead a clinical workshop on Saturday (17 September) to demonstrate the efficacy of hypnotherapy as a treatment or adjunct treatment for hypertension, anxiety, depression, smoking cessation and chronic pain.

The congress will hear academics and clinicians from across Australia speak on basic and applied hypnotherapy research in fields such as obstetrics, midwifery, nightmares, sleepwalking, memory, stress and trauma.

Source: University of New South Wales, Australia.

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