Benefits of Hypnosis for the Management Of Chronic And Cancer Procedure Related Pain In Children
Since the 18th century, the American Medical Association has accepted hypnosis as a form of medical treatment that should be administered by a professionally-trained practitioner. In the United States, about 19.9 percent of all primary care physicians and 62.9 percent of paediatricians used hypnotherapy to their patients.
Facts about Paediatric Hypnosis
In the 1980?s, the use of hypnotherapy as a pain management technique has been applied to children. According to clinical studies, paediatric patients are easier and more receptive to hypnosis, as compared to adults. Moreover, children respond better to this form of therapy when given for acute, chronic and intense pain. They are typically unburdened with cognitive stereotypes, and there are less substantial boundaries that exist between a child’s perception of imagination and reality.
However, the hypnotic ability in paediatric patients is quite limited in individuals below 3 years old while it reaches its peak when a child is between 7 and 14 years of age. Children also behave differently when they are about to undergo a medical procedure. For instance, adults are cataleptic, and children tend to be restless or fidgety during the procedure. With a child’s vivid imagination combined with uncomfortable experiences, the receptivity to hypnotherapy increases.
Use of Hypnosis in Medical Procedures
Medical researchers have discovered that hypnosis is useful in alleviating intense pain during lumbar punctures or bone marrow aspirations. These procedures often lead to painful and stressful experiences among paediatric cancer patients. In a clinical trial that involved 30 children between 5 and 15 years old, the study participants were under hypnosis prior the medical procedure. The study revealed that the level of pain experienced by these patients was lower, as compared with the control group.
Although leukaemia patients who are between 3 and 6 years old suffered from pain during the medical procedure, researchers noted that these children had less anxiety, distress and pain. The pain associated with bone marrow aspirations was less in intensity among the patients in the hypnotic imaging group.
Self-hypnosis and hypnotherapy are also effective for helping children manage chronic pain. Based on a study that included 300 patients in the paediatric pulmonary center, a huge percentage of these patients gained immense benefits from hypnotherapy. About 88 percent of paediatric patients who received hypnotherapy were able to cope with chronic chest pains. Furthermore, there was no worsening of symptoms among these patients. Researchers also reported that 4 out of 5 children who were under hypnosis experienced great relief from chronic abdominal pains within 3 weeks of therapy.
Since most children are capable of learning the method of self-hypnosis, this technique can be useful in helping them managing intense and recurrent headaches. In a study that included patients in propranolol treatment, placebo and self-hypnosis groups, 28 children who were provided with hypnotherapy had fewer episodes of migraines.
The results of clinical studies reveal that self-hypnosis and hypnotherapy offers great benefits for children who suffer from chronic pain. In addition, paediatric hypnosis is effective in alleviating pain linked with various medical procedures such as lumbar puncture or bone marrow aspiration during cancer treatment. This form of therapy is also helpful in minimizing postoperative anxiety and pain in children undergoing clinical tests or surgery, as well as other medical conditions that can cause chronic pain.