Hypnosis As A Support in Cancer Treatment – Anxiety Hypnotherapy in Ely and Newmarket
Cancer is a terrible condition that sadly is likely to have affected many people that you know. There’s the worry, anxiety and fear around the condition, your treatment and your prognosis, that can cause concern for you and your loved ones. And the condition and treatment can entail pain, fatigue, insomnia and anxiety.
A significant number of cancer patients experience anxiety or suffer with depression. There can be symptoms such as muscle fatigue, insomnia, poor sleep quality, and chronic and acute pain.
Recently a close family member went through chemotherapy for his cancer. Before his diagnosis was confirmed he was very poorly, and throughout his treatment there were challenges such as fatigue and sleep problems. Thankfully recent scans show that the treatment has been very successful. Yet as with all cancer patients, there is always the lurking anxiety about health and the worry of the cancer returning.
At every stage of the cancer journey there can be mental distress, anxiety worry and fear. There can also be the impacts of treatment on your mental and physical well-being. And whilst hypnotherapy and hypnosis can’t cure cancer (in fact it is illegal for anyone to claim they can), the research and evidence demonstrates that, alongside your medical treatment, there are many ways that hypnotherapy can help with the things that come with it, from cancer treatments or symptoms, such as anxiety, nausea, distress and so on.
Hypnosis To Help Support Cancer Patients
When considering how hypnosis can help support cancer patients alongside their treatment, it’s important to be able to call upon research and evidence to support any claims about the effectiveness of complementary therapy. Hypnosis and other psychological processes are there to support someone through and alongside their treatment, not as a replacement for established medical treatment practices.
Research has investigated the effectiveness of complementary therapies among cancer patients. Hypnosis was found to present significant results in terms of effectiveness as a solution to resolve symptoms derived from some treatments or from the disease itself. Hypnosis led to an improvement in fatigue, sleep disturbance and pain (Guerra-Martín, Tejedor-Bueno, and Correa-Casado, 2021). In addition, progressive muscle relaxation and guided imagery, which are regularly and easily incorporated with hypnosis, were found to improve fatigue and pain in cancer patients.
Additional research into the efficacy of cognitive behavioural therapy plus hypnosis (CBTH) to control fatigue in patients with breast cancer undergoing radiotherapy found CBTH to be a beneficial evidence based intervention to help control the fatigue in patients undergoing radiotherapy for breast cancer (Montgomery et al, 2014)
There is research supporting hypnosis in the management of symptoms both during and after cancer treatment to help with pain, fatigue and sleep problems (Mendoza et al, 2017). The same effects were found in assessing depression, pain catastrophising, cancer treatment distress, and pain interference.
Hypnosis has also been found to be effective in reducing certain problems of breast cancer patients, such as sleeping disorders and the emotional impacts of cancer (Elyasi, 2020) and as a way of significantly reducing anxiety among breast cancer survivors (Johnson et al, 2016).
And so, as this sample of research starts to demonstrate, there is evidence and support for the effectiveness and beneficial use of hypnosis to help with cancer symptoms. Hypnosis can help with combating fatigue, pain and sleep problems, as well as issues such as anxiety and distress that often go hand in hand with cancer.
We also have a recent systematic review that identified studies that use hypnosis as an adjuvant to evidence based treatments to evaluate its benefits in patients with cancer.
Hypnosis Support in Cancer Treatment
Alongside cancer treatment itself, it is estimated that a significant number of cancer patients experience anxiety or suffer with depression. There can be symptoms such as muscle fatigue, insomnia, poor sleep quality, chronic and acute pain.
Research has shown that hypnosis has strong support in relation to help with chronic or acute pain management. Hypnosis can help with reducing the symptoms of anxiety and depression and can help in the development of coping and problem solving strategies. In oncology, there is evidence for the benefits of hypnosis for reducing pain, anxiety, and the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy and for increased positive mood, decreased negative mood, less fatigue, and better sleep
Building upon this, a recent review aimed to identify studies that used hypnosis as an adjuvant to evidence based treatments in order to assess and evaluate its possible benefits for patients with cancer (Franch, Alarcón and Capafons, 2023).
All of the studies in the review, with the exception of one, indicated that interventions that included hypnosis led to improvements in all or several of the variables measured compared to the control group. Most of the studies reported that hypnosis has positive effects on the management of anxiety and pain, reduction of anxiety, nausea, fatigue, consumption of medication, hospitalization duration, and, consequently, on the economic cost of the treatment. It also improves depressive symptoms, insomnia, hot flashes, well-being, and quality of life, and it helps increase adherence to treatment.
They found that hypnosis improves the symptoms caused by oncological interventions and the disease itself when it is implemented by qualified professionals and as an adjuvant to well established treatments. This effect was observed in both the posttreatment and follow-up phases, without causing side effects.
“When used by qualified professionals as an adjuvant to well-established treatments, hypnosis improves symptoms caused by oncological interventions and the disease itself. In addition, hypnosis has no side effects” (Franch, Alarcón and Capafons, 2023).
Hypnosis has a high level of efficacy in the treatment of symptoms such as pain, anxiety, and mood swings. These benefits are observed both when hypnosis is used with patients who are no longer undergoing treatment for cancer and for those who are still being treated. The opinion of the researchers here was that, based upon the evidence, the absence of side-effects and its consistent positive effects should make hypnosis a technique of choice in the oncology field.
And so, the results of this review are very promising and support the therapeutic application of hypnosis to support cancer treatment in oncological settings. Receiving a diagnosis of cancer, and the treatment and post treatment phases can entail all sorts of worry, anxiety, fear and stress. There can be impacts upon your mental health and well-being, such as anxiety and depression, and you may struggle with fatigue, pain and your mood and mindset. All of the evidence presented here suggests that adding hypnosis to your treatment plan, alongside your medical treatment, can help you as you go through your treatment and recovery. It can help you with the management of anxiety and pain, reduction of anxiety, nausea, fatigue, stress and sleep.
To your health and happiness,
Hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket
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Elyasi, F., Taghizadeh, F., Zarghami, M., Moosazadeh, M., Abdollahi Chirani, S. and Babakhanian, M., 2020. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Hypnosis Intervention on Anxiety, Depression, and Quality of Life in Patients with Breast Cancer Undergoing Chemotherapy: A Clinical Trial. Middle East Journal of Cancer.
Franch, M., Alarcón, A. and Capafons, A., 2023. Applications of Hypnosis as an Adjuvant in Oncological Settings: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, pp.1-24.
Guerra-Martín, M.D., Tejedor-Bueno, M.S. and Correa-Casado, M., 2021. Effectiveness of Complementary Therapies in Cancer Patients: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(3), p.1017.
Johnson, A.J., Marcus, J., Hickman, K., Barton, D. and Elkins, G., 2016. Anxiety reduction among breast-cancer survivors receiving hypnotic relaxation therapy for hot flashes. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 64(4), pp.377-390.
Mendoza, M.E., Capafons, A., Gralow, J.R., Syrjala, K.L., Suárez‐Rodríguez, J.M., Fann, J.R. and Jensen, M.P., 2017. Randomized controlled trial of the Valencia model of waking hypnosis plus CBT for pain, fatigue, and sleep management in patients with cancer and cancer survivors. Psycho‐oncology, 26(11), pp.1832-1838.
Montgomery, G.H., David, D., Kangas, M., Green, S., Sucala, M., Bovbjerg, D.H., Hallquist, M.N. and Schnur, J.B., 2014. Randomized controlled trial of a cognitive-behavioral therapy plus hypnosis intervention to control fatigue in patients undergoing radiotherapy for breast cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 32(6), p.557.