Migraine Headache and Hypnotherapy
Hypnosis is a technique performed by psychotherapists, usually to treat post-traumatic stress symptoms such as anxiety and phobias, or to assist a patient in breaking a negative or addictive habit, such as smoking.
Effect of Hypnotherapy on Migraine Headache
Hypnotherapy can be used be treat migraine headaches and some studies have shown that hypnosis can be as effective as medication in treating migraine headaches.
Research Evidence on Hypnotherapy
Tretment studies compared the treatment of migraine by hypnosis and auto-hypnosis with the treatment of migraine by the drug prochlorperazine. The results showed that the frequency and duration of the migraine headaches were significantly lower in the hypnotherapy group than the group receiving prochlorperazine. The hypnotherapy group also required less medication. It is concluded that further trials of hypnotherapy are needed to establish the mechanism of action and the most effective treatment methods for migraine headaches.
Other studies show similar findings, however hypnosis only surpassed the effectiveness of the medications after a 6 month treatment period. After 1 year, some patients were migraine-free for 3 or more months.
Side Effects and Warnings
In the hands of a competent practitioner, hypnotherapy should present no more risks than any other form of psychotherapy. These risks might include worsening of the original problem and temporary fluctuations in mood.
Contrary to various works of fiction, hypnosis does not give the hypnotist absolute power over his subject. However, as with all forms of psychotherapy, the hypnotherapist does gain some power over the client through the client’s trust; an unethical therapist can abuse this.
Hypnotherapy has also been shown to be effective in the treatment of anxiety, depression and phobias.
Bill Frost, C.H.T. 2010, Migraine (Online) http://www.changingstates.co.uk/issues/migraine.html, accessed 03-16.2010