Hypnosis: The Answer to Hot Flashes in Postmenopausal Women

A latest study published in the journal Menopause has reported that hypnosis is an effective tool for treating hot flashes in post menopausal women.

The research was conducted by scientist at the Baylor University’s research laboratory.


Hypnosis as a Therapy

Hypnotic relaxation therapy has long been under study for providing relief from various medical conditions. In this direction, the university’s team of researchers aimed at finding the efficacy of hypnosis in treating hot flashes experienced by women after their menopause.

Conventional medicine uses hormones such as estrogens and progesterone for elimination of hot flashes among post menopausal women. This is known to provide relief of up to 90%, but the side effects range from risk of breast cancer and heart disease. Hence medical professionals are now looking for alternative therapies to deal with the problem; hypnosis being one among them.

The Hypnosis Sessions

The study was conducted by scientists at the Mind-Body research centre in Baylor University, Waco, Texas, under the guidance of lead author Dr. Gary Elkins. The experiment was set up with 187 women as participants who had complaints of hot flashes. Initial period of the study was 5 weeks where these women were measured for the physical symptoms and also data about their self-report on the hot flashes was collected.

The participants were then asked to take up sessions of hypnosis under the supervision of certified practitioners. They were trained on self-hypnosis that was to be practiced on days that they did not attend the sessions at the centre. The trainers handed audio recordings visual stimuli for this purpose. The participants were asked to wear a skin monitor enabled with electrodes. Whenever they experienced a flash they had to press a button that would record the flash and the related physical changes such as body temperature. These readings were then fed into the data bank for analysis at the end of the study.

Outcomes of the Study

The results of the study were determined by analysis of the clinical and self-reporting data obtained during and prior to the hypnosis therapy. The figures showed that, in addition to a marked decrease in the symptoms, the participants experienced increased ability to cope with and tolerate the stress of the condition. By the end of the fourth session the incidence of hot flashes decreased by as much as 70% and a 3-month follow up decreased the condition by as much as 80%. While this was for the majority of cases, there were also a few who reported complete cure from the condition.

The use of hypnosis is not only useful in treating the condition and providing relief but is also a cost effective way of dealing with post menopausal flashes.