Hypnosis Hot Flashes & Menopause

Hypnotherapy for medical and mental health issues requires diagnosis and referral from a physician or mental health professional, we can direct you to someone familiar with our work

Guided imagery is highly effective at reducing hot flashes

Our work over the last five years has demonstrated that hypnosis (or ‘guided imagery’) is effective at reducing the severity and frequency of hot flashes. This approach is effective with both Menopausal women and those with hot flashes driven by medical conditions.

For most women two to three sessions are all that are needed to significantly reduce hot flashes.  In many cases excellent results are achieved using recorded discs, such as for this lady in New Jersey…..

The following medical studies describe benefits of hypnosis for hot flashes

Womens Health Issues. 2003 Mar-Apr;13(2):74-8.

Mind control of menopause.
Younus J, Simpson I, Collins A, Wang X.

London Regional Cancer Centre, Ontario, Canada.

The primary objective of this study was to observe the effect of hypnosis on hot flashes (HF) and overall quality of life in symptomatic patients. A secondary objective was to observe the effect of hypnosis on fatigue. Ten healthy volunteers and four breast cancer patients (total 14 patients) with symptoms of HF were treated with four, 1 h/wk sessions of hypnosis. The same physician, with the help of a nurse, conducted every session. All subjects recorded frequency, duration, and severity of HF in a HF diary. The QLQ-C30 and Brief Fatigue Inventory forms were used to assess the impact on quality of life and fatigue, respectively. The statistical evaluations were performed, including analysis of variance and nonparametric procedures. The frequency (p < 0.0001), duration (p < 0.0001), and severity (p < 0.0001) of HF were significantly reduced. The overall quality of life was also improved (p = 0.05). The subjects enjoyed better sleep and had less insomnia (p = 0.012). There was a significant improvement on current fatigue level (p = 0.017), but we did not find a statistically significant reduction in the total fatigue level. We conclude that hypnosis appears to be a feasible and promising intervention for HF, with a potential to improve quality of life and insomnia. Although improvement in current level of fatigue was observed in this pilot study, total fatigue improvement did not reach statistical significance.
Publication Types:

    • · Clinical Trial PMID: 12732444 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Dear Patrick:

Thank you so much for the cds you sent. They have been most helpful with my hot flashes that I have suffered with for ten years. I would say they are 85% gone. I used to get one per hour in the evenings. Since I’ve listened to the cds, they have drastically reduced in frequency and intensity.

Lynette Gonzalez
October 2007

American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. 2004 Jul;47(1):29-42.

Can hypnosis reduce hot flashes in breast cancer survivors? A literature review.
Elkins G, Marcus J, Palamara L, Stearns V.

Scott and white Hospital and Clinic, Temple, TX 76508, USA. gelkins@swmail.sw.org

Hot flashes are a significant problem for many breast cancer survivors and can cause discomfort, insomnia, anxiety, and decreased quality of life. In the past, the standard treatment for hot flashes has been hormone replacement therapy. However, recent research has found an increased risk of breast cancer in women receiving hormone replacement therapy. As a result, many menopausal women and breast cancer survivors reject hormone replacement therapy and many women want non-pharmacological treatment. In this critical review we assess the potential use of hypnosis in reducing the frequency and intensity of hot flashes. We conclude that hypnosis is a mind-body intervention that may be of significant benefit in treatment of hot flashes and other benefits may include reduced anxiety and improved sleep. Further, hypnosis may be a preferred treatment because of the few side-effects and the preference of many women for a non-hormonal therapy. Two case studies are included to illustrate hypnosis for hot flashes. However this intervention has not been adequately studied. We discuss an NIH-funded randomized clinical trial of hypnosis for hot flashes in breast cancer survivors that is presently being conducted.
Publication Types:

  • · Case Reports
  • · Review PMID: 15376607 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

MindBody techniques have proven of great value in complementing medical treatment.

They have been explored extensively within the Oncology Program of Women and Infants Hospital in Providence RI. The techniques have proven very effective in reducing both menopausal hot flashes AND those caused by medication prescribed during breast cancer treatment. The success of the techniques led to a study within the hospital, completed in 2011 that demonstrated a success rate of between 80% and 85% in reducing Hot Flashes.

Another medical study was also published in The British Medical Journal:
http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/3/9/e003138.abstract 

Use your Head……The most natural approach to Hot Flashes and Menopause

By Patrick Bowe

There is a very new specialist who can assist with the discomforts of menopause, you.  It has been shown that the mind can reduce or stop hot flashes and other menopausal discomfort.  This is somewhat surprising, even to many most familiar with the mind/body frontier.  The effect has been formally demonstrated in studies using hypnosis with breast cancer patients (cancer treatment can bring about menopausal symptoms).  The changes seen in these studies are also easily achieved with general menopausal symptoms. Dramatic improvements in hot flashes, sleep patterns, anxiety and well-being are quite straightforward. Here are two local examples of women who have used this process…

Marty is a bright and successful hotel manager in the greater Providence area. She had experienced severe night sweats for about three years. Waking roughly eight times every night left her exhausted.  She would often need to change garments or shower in the middle of the night.  After completing several forms of hormone replacement therapy, without benefit, she was desperate.  Her physician, Dr Robert Salk, suggested she consider an option he had recently heard of, hypnosis. After four meetings using hypnosis, recordings and self hypnosis the disturbances stopped completely and Marty has slept through the night for months.  She feels she has her life back.  Her story is described in a November 2005 interview with Barbara Morse Silva of WJAR. This work is very new and the story was picked up by NBC affiliates throughout the US and Canada.  You can see the story on the Providence Hypnosis Center web site.

Kris, a local business owner, had completed cancer treatment two years ago and was still having overwhelming hot flashes every thirty minutes.  The episodes were so disturbing she carried an electric fan to wedge down the front of her blouse to cool herself. After one session of hypnosis, followed by listening to a reinforcement recording, the hot flashes ceased.  After a second session she felt confident that her results were permanent and that no further work was necessary.  Her results were hastened by extensive prior experience using hypnosis for self-improvement.

There are many different processes used in the field of hypnotherapy.  Those used for the work with hot flashes are among the most simple. They involve primarily the use of imagining. Thoughts and feelings are presented that inspire changes and adaptations.  This technique can be used to accomplish many different results, including stimulating adjustments within the body.

Why does this work?  In very simple terms we are finding that our bodies are a reflection of our thoughts and feelings. The ideas that play out in our minds create dynamic chemical changes throughout the body. On a day to day level, when you are happy and relaxed your body experiences a chemical orchestration of this mood.  You feel good and your body benefits.  On the other hand, living with extended stress, anxiety or other diminishing feelings has been shown to deplete health and well being.  Working with conditions such as menopause reaches beyond this happy/sad scenario.  In a similar way though, moods and thoughts are evoked that create desired changes as the body responds to the ideas and feelings.

Beginning in March the techniques described here will be offered at Women and Infants Hospital as part of the Women’s Oncology program.  PHC will collaborate with the hospital to conduct small group sessions with cancer patients.  The groups will be designed to create relief and comfort during and after treatment.

Looking beyond hot flashes, research and leading-edge therapy shows that the mind is one of the most exciting frontiers of the health sciences.  Hypnosis is valuable with many complex health issues including chronic pain, lessening the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), easing the challenges of Fibromyalgia, removing warts, preparing for surgery, balancing fears and anxiety in adults and children, and many other often fascinating applications.

In spite of the extraordinary potential of this work the delivery system has been limited. Few hypnotherapists have specialized in complementary medical applications. A network is gradually forming and, much like acupuncture and chiropractic in recent decades, the challenge faced is to inform the public about this work and the interesting potential of their own minds.

Hot flashes and menopause are likely to be key issues in redefining our understanding of the mind, the body and hypnotherapy. The classic battle of ‘everywoman’ is far more common, understandable and accessible than Fibromyalgia, IBS and Pain. The next ten years will continue to present compelling advances in the use of hypnosis and guided imagery. We are quickly moving toward a future where we will look at our relationship with our bodies in a very different light.

Providence Hypnosis Center

Helping you and your loved ones overcome emotional discomfort

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