Hypnotherapy to Reduce Hot Flashes: Examination of Response Expectancies as a Mediator of Outcomes

This paper explored the role that expectancy plays during hypnosis intervention for hot flashes. It also investigated the effectiveness of hypnosis in the reduction of hot flashes symptoms.

Previous studies have shown up to 59% reduction in hot flashes frequency in response to hypnotherapy.  This randomised study of 172 postmenopausal women tested whether the expectancy of hypnotherapy treatment played in significant role in the outcome of treatment. A small but potentially statistically insignificant improvement of 11% was observed indicating the majority of the positive outcome observed was due mainly to the hypnotic procedure.

This is quite an interesting study as it attempts to tease out the relative roles played by a placebo contribution (expectancy) versus the contribution of hypnotic suggestion. In this study it appears as nearly all the positive effect was a result of hypnosis and not placebo.

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