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There is a great deal of positive research regarding the use of hypnotherapy as an adjunct treatment for cancer related issues. Pain, nausea, fear and anxiety are the most common problems, and it's important to grasp all these negative emotions create stress, and stress damages the immune system, the very thing that you really need firing on all cylinders... with a turbo!

Which leads me to psychoneuroimmunology and how hypnotherapy opens those paths. Psychoneuroimmunology is the science of the mind's ability, via the nervous system, to influence the immune system. To potentially super-enhance the immune system. 

How do we best utilise the mind to stimulate these paths? Hypnosis of course, or in the hands of a health expert, hypnotherapy.

See Immune enhancement.

From the research below...

"Clinical hypnosis in cancer settings provides symptom reduction (pain and anxiety) 
and empowers patients to take an active role in their treatments and procedures". (Neron) 

"Findings suggest that imagery-hypnosis may be prophylactic, benefitting patients by reducing the probability of postoperative complications and thereby keeping hospital stay within the expected range". (Rapkin) 

"Hypnosis was shown to be more effective than nonhypnotic techniques for reducing procedural distress in children and adolescents with cancer". (Zeltzer)

"Comparisons of baseline and posthypnosis reports suggest that hypnosis was successfully used for acute and chronic pain, anxiety, unpleasant body sensations and, possibly, nausea and vomiting". (Ellenberg)

“Relaxation therapy, guided imagery and hypnotherapy can be very beneficial in helping patients cope with the [cancer] diagnosis and treatment. Intriguingly, there is some evidence that they may prolong life". (Walker) 

Montgomery, Guy H.; Hallquist, Michael N.; Schnur, Julie B.; David, 
Daniel; Silverstein, Jeffrey H.; Bovbjerg, Dana H. (Feb 2010). 
Mediators of a Brief Hypnosis Intervention to Control Side Effects 
in Breast Surgery Patients: Response Expectancies and Emotional 
Distress. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol 78(1), 

Objective: The present study was designed to test the hypotheses that response 
expectancies and emotional distress mediate the effects of an empirically validated 
presurgical hypnosis intervention on postsurgical side effects (i.e., pain, nausea, and 
fatigue). Method: Women (n = 200) undergoing breast-conserving surgery (mean 
age = 48.50 years; 63% White, 15% Hispanic, 13% African American, and 9% 
other) were randomized to a hypnosis or to an attention control group. Conclusions: 
The results demonstrate the mediational roles of response expectancies and 
emotional distress in clinical benefits associated with a hypnotic intervention for 
breast cancer surgical patients. More broadly, the results improve understanding of 
the underlying mechanisms responsible for hypnotic phenomena and suggest that 
future hypnotic interventions target patient expectancies and distress to improve 
postsurgical recovery. 

Liossi, Christina; White, Paul; Hatira, Popi. (Apr 2009). A 
Randomized Clinical Trial of a Brief Hypnosis Intervention to 
Control Venepuncture-related Pain of Paediatric Cancer Patients. 
Pain, Vol 142(3), 255-263. 

Venepuncture for blood sampling can be a distressing experience for a considerable 
number of children. A prospective controlled trial was conducted to compare the 
efficacy of a local anaesthetic (EMLA) with a combination of EMLA with self-hypnosis in the relief of venepuncture-induced pain and anxiety in 45 paediatric 
cancer outpatients (age 6–16 years). A secondary aim of the trial was to test 
whether the intervention will have a beneficial effect on parents’ anxiety levels 
during their child’s procedure. Patients were randomized to one of three groups: 
local anaesthetic, local anaesthetic plus hypnosis, and local anaesthetic plus 
attention. Results confirmed that patients in the local anaesthetic plus hypnosis 
group reported less anticipatory anxiety, and less procedure-related pain and 
anxiety, and were rated as demonstrating less behavioural distress during the 
procedure than patients in the other two groups. Parents whose children were 
randomized to the local anaesthetic plus hypnosis condition experienced less 
anxiety during their child’s procedure than parents whose children had been 
randomized to the other two conditions. The therapeutic benefit of the brief 
hypnotic intervention was maintained in the follow-up. 

Schnur, Julie B.; David, Daniel; Kangas, Maria; Green, Sheryl; 
Bovbjerg, Dana H.; Montgomery, Guy H. (Apr 2009). A Randomized 
Trial of a Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy and Hypnosis 
Intervention on Positive and Negative Affect during Breast Cancer 
Radiotherapy. Journal of Clinical Psychology, Vol 65(4), 443-455. 

Breast cancer radiotherapy can be an emotionally difficult experience. The present 
study examined the effectiveness of a multimodal psychotherapeutic approach, 
combining cognitive-behavioural therapy and hypnosis (CBTH), to reduce negative 
affect and increase positive affect in 40 women undergoing breast cancer 
radiotherapy. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either CBTH or 
standard care. Participants completed weekly self-report measures of positive and 
negative affect. Repeated and univariate analyses of variance revealed that the 
CBTH approach reduced levels of negative affect [F(1, 38) = 13.49; p = .0007, ?² = 
.56], and increased levels of positive affect [F(1, 38) = 9.67; p = .0035, ?² = .48], 
during the course of radiotherapy. Additionally, relative to the control group, the 
CBTH group demonstrated significantly more intense positive affect [F(1, 38) = 
7.09; p = .0113, d = .71] and significantly less intense negative affect [F(1, 38) = 
10.30; p = .0027, d = .90] during radiotherapy. The CBTH group also had a 
significantly higher frequency of days where positive affect was greater than 
negative affect (85% of days assessed for the CBTH group versus 43% of the 
Control group) [F(1, 38) = 18.16; p = .0001, d = 1.16]. Therefore, the CBTH 
intervention has the potential to improve the affective experience of women 
undergoing breast cancer radiotherapy. 

Ebell, Hansjörg. (Mar 2008). The Therapist as a Travelling 
Companion to the Chronically Ill: Hypnosis and Cancer Related 
Symptoms. Contemporary Hypnosis, Vol 25(1), 46-56. 

The complex interaction of pain, other symptoms and suffering in cancer patients 
requires a treatment approach that integrates psychological as well as 
pharmacological interventions. The supplementation of a pharmacological pain 
treatment concept based on WHO-guidelines by the use of self hypnosis was 
examined in a controlled clinical follow up study: 61 of 342 patients with cancer 
related pain referred to the Interdisciplinary Pain Unit of Munich University Clinic 
were included. Using a parallel design we found a statistically significant reduction 
of pain and suffering after the first four weeks for treatment A (with self-hypnosis) 
in comparison to treatment B (without self-hypnosis). The utilization of hypnosis 
requires an intensive subjective exchange over a period of time between the patient 
and the therapist, who embark as travelling companions on a journey through 
uncharted territory. Three case reports serve as an example for three different ‘time 
windows’ of this travelling companionship of therapists and patients: short 
term/crisis intervention, cooperation for several weeks/coping enhancement, and 
long term/psychotherapy. 

Néron, Sylvain; Stephenson, Randolph. (Jul 2007). Effectiveness of 
Hypnotherapy with Cancer Patients’ Trajectory: Emesis, Acute 
Pain, and Analgesia and Anxiolysis in Procedures. International 
Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, Vol 55(3), 336-354. 

Clinical hypnosis in cancer settings provides symptom reduction (pain and anxiety) 
and empowers patients to take an active role in their treatments and procedures. The 
goal of this paper is to systematically and critically review evidence on the 
effectiveness of hypnotherapy for emesis, analgesia, and anxiolysis in acute pain, 
specifically in procedures with an emphasis on the period from 1999 to 2006. 
Further, it aims to provide a theoretical rationale for the use of hypnosis with cancer 
populations in the whole spectrum of illness/ treatment trajectory in several clinical 
contexts. Finally, a treatment protocol for management of overt anxiety and phobic 
reactions in the radiotherapy suite is presented, with the intent of having such a 
protocol empirically validated in the future. 

Peynovska, Rumi; Fisher, Jackie; Oliver, David; Mathew, V. M. 
(2005). Efficacy of Hypnotherapy as a Supplement Therapy in 
Cancer Intervention. European Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, Vol 
6(1), 2-7. 

Aim of the Study: To study the benefits of Hypnotherapy, as a supplement therapy 
in the management of terminally ill patients. Method: All the patients who took part 
in the trial were day hospice patients of Ann Delhom Centre, Wisdom Hospice, 
Rochester, UK. Patients were offered three hypnotherapy sessions and were 
assessed before the first session and after the third one together with a follow up 
after 3/4 months after the last session. Particular attention was paid to: 1. 
management of anxiety, depression, anger, frustration 2. management of pain, 
fatigue, insomnia 3. management of side-effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy 
4. visualization to promote health improvement. All hypnotherapy sessions were 
individually tailored to cover the specific individual needs. Results: At the end of 
the study data was analysed to evaluate the effect of Hypnotherapy on the 
individual quality of life, life expectancy, cost savings to the hospital in terms of 
reduced medication and need for medical care. 

Walker, Leslie G. (2004). Hypnotherapeutic Insights and 
Interventions: A Cancer Odyssey. Contemporary Hypnosis, Vol 
21(1), 35-45. 

Despite advances in molecular biology and therapeutics, cancer continues to be a 
major source of morbidity and mortality. The diagnosis and treatment are often 
stressful, and high levels of psychological and psychiatric disorders have been 
reported consistently over the last 20 years. However, there is evidence that much 
of this distress is preventable by providing a support service that is open-access and 
fully integrated functionally and geographically with other parts of cancer services. 
This paper reviews the findings of some of the interventional research carried out 
by the author and his colleagues over the past 20 years. These studies have provided 
evidence that relaxation therapy, guided imagery and hypnotherapy can be very 
beneficial in helping patients cope with the diagnosis and treatment. Intriguingly, 
there is some evidence that they may prolong life, although further studies are 
required to clarify this. In the meantime, however, it is clear that much can be done 
to prevent, as well as to treat, cancer-related problems. 

Handel, DL. (Feb 2001). Complementary Therapies for Cancer 
Patients: What Works, What Doesn’t, and How to Know the 
Difference. Texas Medical Association, 97(2), 68-73. 

Cancer patients, with their multiple symptoms and layers of suffering, are 
presenting many challenges to the treating physician and are turning to 
complementary mind-body therapies in increasing numbers. The utilization of 
mind-body medicine and other complementary therapies is growing at rates faster 
than Western medicine, and physicians are more commonly being questioned about 
potential benefits and risks of these therapies. This article discusses hypnosis and 
mind-body approaches in the care of the cancer patient, and offers suggestions 
regarding the evaluation of complementary medicine therapies. 

Hall, Michael; Lynn, Steven Jay. (2000). Hypnotic Treatment of 
Women with Breast or Gynaecological Cancer. In Hornyak, Lynne 
M. (Ed); Green, Joseph P. (Ed), Healing From Within: The Use of 
Hypnosis in Women’s Health Care. Dissociation, Trauma, Memory, 
and Hypnosis Book Series, (pp. 139-160). Washington, DC: American 
Psychological Association. 

In this chapter, the authors review the incidence and emotional impact of breast and 
gynaecological cancer (e.g., cervical, ovarian, endometrial) and discuss the 
usefulness of hypnosis as an adjunctive treatment for women with these cancers. 
Spiegel, D; Moore, R. (Aug 1997). Imagery and Hypnosis in the 
Treatment of Cancer Patients. Oncology, 11(8), 1179-89, discussion 
1189-95. Hypnosis has been shown to be an effective method for controlling cancer pain. The 
techniques most often employed involve physical relaxation coupled with imagery 
that provides a substitute focus of attention for the painful sensation. 10-year 
follow-up of a randomized trial involving 86 women with cancer showed that a year 
of weekly “supportive/expressive” group therapy significantly increased survival 
duration and time from recurrence to death. This intervention encourages patients to 
express and deal with strong emotions and also focuses on clarifying doctor-patient 
communication. Numerous other studies suggest that suppression of negative affect, 
excessive conformity, severe stress, and lack of social support predict a poorer 
medical outcome from cancer. 

Steggles, S., Damore-Petingola, S., Maxwell, J., Lightfoot, N. (1997). 
Hypnosis for Children and Adolescents with Cancer: An 
Annotated Bibliography, 1985-1995. Journal of Paediatric Oncology 
Nursing, Vol. 14, 27-32. 

This annotated bibliography reviews the professional literature published in 
English, from 1985 to 1995 inclusive, on the subject of the use of hypnosis with 
paediatric cancer patients. Books, chapters, and journal articles are included. This 
bibliography contains 37 items organized into three categories: (1) General 
Discussions; (2) Case Reports or Case Studies: and (3) Experimental and 
Nonexperimental Group Designs. This is an update of a previously published 
annotated bibliography, also presented in this Journal, which explored the 
relationship between hypnosis and paediatric cancer in journal articles published 
from 1960 to 1985. 

Jacknow, D. S., Tschann, J. M., Link, M. P., Boyce, W. T. (1994). 
Hypnosis in the Prevention of Chemotherapy-Related Nausea and 
Vomiting in Children: A Prospective Study. Journal of 
Developmental and Behavioural Paediatrics, Vol. 15, 258-64. 

To study the effectiveness of hypnosis for decreasing antiemetic medication usage 
and treatment of chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting in children with cancer, 
we conducted a prospective, randomized, and controlled single-blind trial in 20 
patients receiving chemotherapy for treatment of cancer. Patients were randomized 
to either hypnosis or standard treatment. The hypnosis group used hypnosis as 
primary treatment for nausea and vomiting, using antiemetic medication on a 
supplemental (p.r.n.) basis only, whereas the control group received a standardized 
antiemetic medication regimen. Patients in the hypnosis group used less p.r.n 
antiemetic medication than control subjects during both the first (p < .04) and 
second course of chemotherapy (p < .02). The two groups did not differ in severity 
of nausea and vomiting. The hypnosis group experienced less anticipatory nausea 
than the control group at 1 to 2 months postdiagnosis (p < .02). Results suggest self-hypnosis is effective for decreasing antiemetic medication usage and for reducing 
anticipatory nausea during chemotherapy. 

Sutters, K. A., Miaskowski, C. (1992). The Problem of Pain in 
Children with Cancer: A Research Review. Oncology Nursing 
Forum, Vol. 19, 465-71. 

The purpose of this paper is to present a review of the research studies conducted on 
paediatric cancer pain over 13-1/2 years. The review of the cancer pain research 
studies is organized around several concepts that include approaches to cancer pain 
assessment and management as well as the presentation, incidence, and aetiology of 
pain associated with childhood malignancy. Relevant clinical findings from the 
review of the literature are highlighted. Emphasis is on the major nursing 
implications from these studies, and suggestions are made for future nursing 

Levitan, A. A. (1992). The Use of Hypnosis with Cancer Patients. 
Psychological Medicine, Vol. 10, 119-31. 

Hypnosis has proven to be extremely valuable in the treatment of cancer patients. 
Specific applications include: establishing rapport between the patient and members 
of the medical health team; control of pain with self-regulation of pain perception 
through the use of glove anaesthesia, time distortion, amnesia, transference of pain to 
a different body part, or dissociation of the painful part from the rest of the body; 
controlling symptoms, such as, nausea, anticipatory emesis, learned food aversions, 
etc.; psychotherapy for anxiety, depression, guilt, anger, hostility, frustration, 
isolation, and a diminished sense of self-esteem; visualization for health 
improvement; and, dealing with death anxiety and other related issues. Hypnosis 
has unique advantages for patients including improvement of self-esteem, 
involvement in self-care, return of locus of control, lack of unpleasant side effects, 
and continued efficacy despite continued use. 

Rapkin, D. A., Straubing, M., Holroyd, J. C. (1991). Guided Imagery, 
Hypnosis and Recovery from Head and Neck Cancer Surgery: An 
Exploratory Study. International Journal of Clinical and 
Experimental Hypnosis, Vol. 39, 215-26. 

The value of a brief, preoperative hypnosis experience was explored with a sample 
of 36 head and neck cancer surgery patients. 15 patients volunteered for the 
experimental hypnosis intervention. 21 patients who received usual care (no 
hypnosis) were followed through their hospital charts and were used as a 
comparison group. Hypnotic intervention and usual care groups were comparable in 
terms of relevant demographic variables. Postoperative hospitalizations for the 
hypnotic intervention group were significantly shorter than for the usual care group. 
Findings suggest that imagery-hypnosis may be prophylactic, benefitting patients 
by reducing the probability of postoperative complications and thereby keeping 
hospital stay within the expected range. 

Zeltzer, L. K., Dolgin, M. J., LeBaron, S., LeBaron, C. (1991). A 
Randomized, Controlled Study of Behavioural Intervention for 
Chemotherapy Distress in Children with Cancer. Paediatrics, Vol. 
88, 34-42. 

Fifty-four paediatric cancer patients were studied to determine the relative efficacy 
of two forms of behavioural intervention for reducing chemotherapy-related distress. 
Following baseline assessment, subjects were randomly assigned to receive either 
hypnosis, non-hypnotic distraction/relaxation, or attention placebo (control) during 
the subsequent identical chemotherapy course. Observational and interview 
measures of anticipatory and post-chemotherapy nausea, vomiting, distress, and 
functional disruption served as outcome data. Results indicated that treatment 
condition was the single best predictor of change from baseline to intervention, with 
children in the hypnosis group reporting the greatest reduction of both anticipatory 
and post-chemotherapy symptoms. The cognitive distraction/relaxation intervention 
appeared to have a maintenance effect in which symptoms did not get much worse 
or much better, while children in the control group had symptoms that consistently 
became worse over time. Emetic potential of the chemotherapy and the prophylactic 
use of antiemetics each appeared to contribute to the overall severity of symptoms. 
While the efficacy of hypnosis in the management of chemotherapy distress is 
supported, the complexities of interacting biologic and psychologic factors are 

Kellerman, J., Zeltzer, L., Ellenberg, L., Dash, J. (1983). Adolescents 
with Cancer. Hypnosis for the Reduction of the Acute Pain and 
482 Journal of Heart-Centred Therapies, 2010, Vol. 13, No. 1 
Anxiety Associated with Medical Procedures. Journal of Adolescent 
Health Care, Vol. 4, 85-90. 

Eighteen adolescents with cancer were trained in hypnosis to ameliorate the 
discomfort and anxiety associated with bone marrow aspirations, lumbar punctures, 
and chemotherapeutic injections. Two patients rejected hypnosis. The remaining 16 
adolescents achieved significant reductions in multiple measures of distress after 
hypnosis training. Preintervention data showed no pattern of spontaneous remission 
or habituation, and, in fact, an increasing anticipatory anxiety was observed before 
hypnotic treatment. Group reductions in pain and anxiety were significant at levels 
ranging from p less than 0.02 to p less than 0.002 (two-tailed t-tests). Significant 
reductions were also found in Trait Anxiety. 

Zeltzer, L., LeBaron, S. (1982). Hypnosis and Nonhypnotic 
Techniques for Reduction of Pain and Anxiety During Painful 
Procedures in Children and Adolescents with Cancer. Journal of 
Paediatrics, Vol. 101, 1032-5. 

Hypnosis was compared with nonhypnotic behavioural techniques for efficacy in 
reducing pain and anxiety in 27 children and adolescents during bone marrow 
aspiration and in 22 children and adolescents during lumbar puncture. During bone 
marrow aspiration pain was reduced to a large extent by hypnosis (P less than 
0.001) and to a smaller but significant extent by nonhypnotic techniques (P less 
than 0.01), and anxiety was significantly reduced by hypnosis alone (P less than 
0.001). During lumbar puncture only hypnosis significantly reduced pain (P less 
than 0.001); anxiety was reduced to a large degree by hypnosis (P less than 0.001) 
and to a smaller degree by nonhypnotic techniques (P less than 0.05). Thus 
hypnosis was shown to be more effective than nonhypnotic techniques for reducing 
procedural distress in children and adolescents with cancer. 

Ellenberg, L., Kellerman, J., Dash, J., Higgins, G., Zeltzer, L. (1980). 
Use of Hypnosis for Multiple Symptoms in an Adolescent Girl with 
Leukaemia. Journal of Adolescent Health Care, Vol. 1, 132-6. 

An adolescent girl with chronic myelogenous leukaemia was treated with hypnosis 
for several disease- and treatment-related problems during the last 4 months of her 
life. Data were collected before and after hypnosis on the nature and intensity of the 
patient’s acute pain and anxiety during bone marrow aspirations, chronic headache 
and backache, nausea and vomiting during chemotherapy, anorexia, and the 
discomfort associated with spiking temperatures. Comparisons of baseline and 
posthypnosis reports suggest that hypnosis was successfully used for acute and 
chronic pain, anxiety, unpleasant body sensations and, possibly, nausea and 


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