WHAT IS HYPNOTHERAPY?
Hypnotherapy involves deliberately inducing a daydream-like state of consciousness for therapeutic purposes. The hypnotic state may facilitate faster and more profound psychological effects than counselling or psychotherapy while the patient is in a state of normal waking consciousness.
Our purpose is to be a global facilitator of health and wellness through access, education and advancement of Traditional & Complementary Medicine (T&CM). The World Health Organization (WHO) advises that lifestyle-related diseases (or non-communicable diseases) are responsible for more than 70% of deaths worldwide each year.
Knowledge represents empowerment. By sharing this evidence-based, peer-reviewed research, we aim to support everyday people to take ownership of their wellness, by making informed decisions and choices in conjunction with their health professional.
How This Study Could Help Your Cancer Treatment
Affecting approximately 2.1 million women annually, breast cancer causes more cancer- related deaths in the female population than any other form of the disease, according to statistics published by the WHO. This review discusses the value of hypnosis before, during and after breast cancer surgery and is titled:
HYPNOSIS IN THE PERIOPERATIVE MANAGEMENT OF BREAST CANCER SURGERY: CLINICAL BENEFITS AND POTENTIAL IMPLICATIONS.
You can read the full study here: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/arp/2016/2942416/
Why Is This Study Important?
Breast cancer is “the most commonly encountered cancer among women”, and surgery is often a cornerstone of treatment. However, successful treatment depends on more than the success of surgery alone. The stress, pain, nausea and other negative effects most women experience as a result of surgery can significantly influence the outcome of treatment.
Psychological factors have been reported to affect immune function, and general anaesthesia, as well as the use of pharmaceutical painkillers after surgery, can also suppress the immune system. The time immediately before and after surgery is described as the ‘perioperative period’, and this is a critical time during the treatment of breast cancer.
A patient’s psychological condition, as well as the physical impact of the surgery itself, is associated with changes to hormonal and metabolic function, sometimes called ‘stress response’. The effects of this stress response during the vulnerable time after surgery can influence the likelihood that the cancer may return, or spread to other parts of the body.
What Does This Mean For My Wellness?
For people who need to undergo surgery for breast cancer, this review indicates that hypnotherapy before, during and after the operation may significantly improve the results of their cancer treatment. Hypnosis may reduce the need for drugs such as opioids for pain management, with associated benefits for the immune system.
Postoperative hypnotherapy may speed up wound healing, reduce the length of hospital stay, and possibly improve physical comfort as well as psychological wellbeing for “prolonged periods of time”. The authors did not specify how long these effects may persist, but they did reinforce their role in influencing long-term “oncological [cancer-related] outcomes”.
How Does This Relate to Hypnotherapy?
Generally, the word ‘hypnotherapy’ is used to describe the use of hypnosis as part of a counselling or psychological treatment program. This review focused on a very specific niche of hypnotherapy: using hypnosis as a technique to reduce stress, pain, nausea and so on, with the aim of improving breast cancer surgery outcomes.
In this study, published in 2016, researchers affiliated with the Université Catholique de Louvain in Brussels, Belgium, evaluated the benefits of hypnosis before, during and after surgery for breast cancer.
A major theme of the article was the connection between immune function and the success of cancer treatment. From this angle, the authors discussed and explained the various benefits hypnosis may have in reducing the impact of breast cancer surgery on the immune system, possibly improving the treatment results.
Key Findings About Using Hypnosis to Improve Breast Cancer Surgery Outcomes
- Hypnosis can be used to effectively reduce anxiety and distress prior to surgery. Research quoted by the authors indicates that preoperative anxiety is “the only independent variable predicting severe pain two days after surgery”.
- Using hypnosis together with local anaesthetic during the surgery itself, instead of general anaesthesia, may have a variety of health benefits. These include reduced fatigue associated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and a significantly shorter period of hospitalisation after surgery.
- The role of hypnosis in actively supporting immune function was explored from several angles. By reducing the need for anaesthetic medication, as well as decreasing the stress response, hypnosis may limit the suppression of the immune system. This in turn may improve the chances of long-term cancer remission.
- The authors also examined research relating to metastatic breast cancer which cannot be cured, only managed. In women suffering from hormone-negative breast cancer (a specific type of metastatic disease), hypnosis is reported to possibly increase life expectancy by approximately 18 months.
Anesthesiology Research and Practice is a peer-reviewed, open access journal that provides a forum for health care professionals engaged in perioperative medicine, critical care, and pain management. The journal publishes original research articles, review articles, and clinical studies related to anesthetic administration, preoperative and postoperative considerations, perioperative care, critical care, pediatric anesthesia, obstetric anesthesia, analgesia, clinical and experimental research, administration and efficacy, as well as technology and monitoring.
Quoted from journal description
Hypnotherapy | SoulAdvisor
Breast cancer | World Health Organization
Hypnosis in the Perioperative Management of Breast Cancer Surgery | Anesthesiology Research and Practice
Stage 4 Breast Cancer Recurrence and Remission | healthline.com
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