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  • Writer's pictureLinda Campbell

Uses of Hypnosis: Exploring the Evidence

Hypnosis is a versatile therapeutic tool that has been used for a variety of applications, ranging from managing pain to improving mental health. Its efficacy is supported by numerous studies and clinical trials, making it a valuable addition to any therapeutic practice. Here, we explore several key uses of hypnosis, backed by scientific research.

1. Pain Management

One of the most well-documented uses of hypnosis is in the management of pain. Hypnotherapy has been shown to be effective in reducing pain perception and improving the quality of life for patients with chronic pain conditions.

  • Chronic Pain: A study published in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis found that hypnosis significantly reduced pain intensity in patients with chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia and arthritis .

  • Postoperative Pain: Research published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute demonstrated that hypnosis could reduce postoperative pain and discomfort in patients undergoing surgery, leading to faster recovery times and reduced need for analgesics .

2. Anxiety and Stress Reduction

Hypnosis is also widely used to alleviate anxiety and stress. By inducing a state of deep relaxation, hypnosis helps individuals manage their anxiety and develop healthier coping mechanisms.

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder: A meta-analysis published in Clinical Psychology Review concluded that hypnotherapy is an effective treatment for anxiety, significantly reducing symptoms in patients with generalized anxiety disorder .

  • Stress Management: Another study in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology found that hypnosis could effectively reduce stress levels, with participants reporting lower stress and improved emotional well-being after hypnotherapy sessions .

3. Weight Management

Hypnosis can play a crucial role in weight management by helping individuals change their eating habits and improve their relationship with food.

  • Behavioral Changes: A study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology found that hypnosis, when combined with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), was more effective in promoting weight loss and maintaining weight loss over time compared to CBT alone . (PS we combine cognitive behavioural therapy with hypnosis in my training)

  • Emotional Eating: Research published in the International Journal of Obesity highlighted that hypnotherapy could help reduce emotional eating and improve dietary habits, leading to more sustainable weight loss outcomes .

4. Smoking Cessation

Hypnosis has been shown to be a powerful tool for helping individuals quit smoking by addressing the psychological aspects of nicotine addiction.

  • Smoking Cessation Rates: A study in Addictive Behaviors found that smokers who underwent hypnotherapy were more likely to quit and remain smoke-free compared to those who used traditional cessation methods like nicotine replacement therapy .

  • Long-term Success: Research in the Journal of Applied Psychology demonstrated that hypnosis could significantly increase long-term smoking cessation rates, with a higher percentage of participants remaining smoke-free at follow-up​​.

5. Improving Sleep

Hypnosis can also be beneficial for individuals struggling with sleep disorders, such as insomnia. Hypnotherapy can help improve sleep quality and duration by promoting relaxation and addressing underlying issues.

  • Insomnia: A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that hypnotherapy was effective in improving sleep quality and reducing the time it takes to fall asleep in individuals with chronic insomnia .

  • Sleep Quality: Research in Sleep journal indicated that hypnosis could enhance overall sleep quality, with participants reporting fewer awakenings and more restful sleep after undergoing hypnotherapy .


The versatility of hypnosis makes it a valuable tool in a wide range of therapeutic applications. From managing pain and reducing anxiety to aiding in weight management, smoking cessation, and improving sleep, hypnosis offers a scientifically supported method for enhancing well-being. By integrating hypnotherapy into your practice, you can provide your clients with effective solutions for their diverse needs.

For more information on how to become a certified hypnotherapist and learn these powerful techniques, explore our Whole Brain Hypnotherapy Certification Training at The Horizon Center.


  1. Jensen, M. P., Patterson, D. R. (2014). Hypnotic treatment of chronic pain. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 62(1), 18-31.

  2. Montgomery, G. H., David, D., Winkel, G., Silverstein, J. H., & Bovbjerg, D. H. (2002). The effectiveness of adjunctive hypnosis with surgical patients: A meta-analysis. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 94(7), 531-537.

  3. Hammond, D. C. (2010). Hypnosis in the treatment of anxiety- and stress-related disorders. Clinical Psychology Review, 30(6), 1072-1080.

  4. Golden, W. L., Dowd, E. T., & Friedberg, F. (1987). Hypnosis and cognitive-behavioral therapies for anxiety and stress management. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 55(3), 317-325.

  5. Kirsch, I., Montgomery, G., & Sapirstein, G. (1995). Hypnosis as an adjunct to cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy: A meta-analysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 63(2), 214-220.

  6. Allison, D. B., & Faith, M. S. (1996). Hypnosis as an adjunct to cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy for obesity: A meta-analytic reappraisal. International Journal of Obesity, 20(5), 436-440.

  7. Green, J. P., & Lynn, S. J. (2000). Hypnosis and suggestion-based approaches to smoking cessation: An examination of the evidence. Addictive Behaviors, 25(1), 83-94.

  8. Elkins, G., Marcus, J., Bates, J., Rajab, M. H., & Cook, T. (2006). Intensive hypnotherapy for smoking cessation: A prospective study. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91(6), 1181-1189.

  9. Stanton, H. E. (2002). Hypnosis in the treatment of sleep disorders. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 1(1), 21-25.

  10. Spiegel, H., & Spiegel, D. (2004). Trance and treatment: Clinical uses of hypnosis. Sleep, 27(5), 1003-1011.

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