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From a report by William J. Cromie in the Harvard Gazette, May 2003, on a clinical trial of the power of hypnosis which proved the benefit for patients who were given hypnotic suggestions for healing and comfort before and after surgery:

18 breast surgery patients [were] randomly separated into three groups. All got the same surgical care by the same doctors. Six received standard care only, six also received attention and support and from a psychologist, and six underwent hypnosis before and after their surgery.

[Using hypnosis Carol Ginandes of Harvard Medical School] offered suggestions that were custom-tailored to different stages of surgery and healing, Before surgery, the suggestions emphasized lessening pain and anxiety. ‘You can even suggest to a patient that she can reduce bleeding during surgery by controlling her blood flow,’ Ginandes notes. Overall, the suggestions focused on things such as expectation of comfort, decreased inflammation, diminished scar tissue, accelerated wound healing, return to normal activities, and adjustments to self-image …

At one week and seven weeks after surgery, nurses and doctors participating in the study visibly assessed and measured the wounds of all three groups without knowing which group the women were in. They took digital photographs for three physicians to review. Each patient also rated her own healing progress and how much pain she felt on scales of zero to 10.

The result was clear … the women who had undergone hypnosis healed significantly faster than the others.

Full story at Harvard Gazette online.

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