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How Effective is Hypnotherapy at Managing Pain?

Clinical pain is a highly studied topic within the medical and psychological field. According to a recent study, 126 million US adults reported having some sort of significant pain within the past 3 months (Milling et al., 2021). This brings with it significant economic and societal costs which urgently need to be addressed in a pragmatic way. Hypnosis for pain management is one of the most studied topics in medicine and has been shown over the years to be a highly effective intervention that helps with coping, redirecting awareness, and reducing pain levels within a clinical population. Pain, whether it be acute or chronic is not an easy thing to get used to, accept or live with. Fortunately there are a lot of natural, drug-free interventions that can be used so that it doesn’t have to affect your everyday life in an overwhelming way. This article aims to educate you on the benefits and appropriateness of hypnosis for pain management. This intervention may not be suitable for some, but can help most people in a very significant and meaningful way.


There is no one way to manage chronic pain that will act as an all encompassing approach. It’s important to be open and practical when managing chronic pain in order to make sure you are addressing all facets and aspects that may be contributing to the uncomfortable symptomatology. This might include altering diet and exercise routines, considering the use of prescription or over-the-counter medication, physical therapy, acupuncture, psychological counselling or using different mind-body interventions such as biofeedback, relaxation techniques, guided meditation or hypnosis (Felson, 2018).

A recent, comprehensive meta-analysis demonstrated that “hypnosis is a very efficacious intervention for relieving clinical pain” (Milling et al., 2021). The data revealed that the average patient who used hypnosis was able to reduce their symptomatic pain by more than 73% when compared directly to the control group (Milling et al., 2021). Although strong evidence already existed to support the use of hypnosis for chronic pain, this well designed statistical survey of the medical literature brings forth even stronger support for its use. The addition of hypnosis and self-hypnosis should be considered if you are currently struggling to manage your pain symptoms. Interestingly, this study also showed that people who are more susceptible to hypnosis can derive even stronger benefits. These are very promising results that should offer some hope to those who have been looking at alternative ways to help themselves better manage their pain symptoms. In addition, learning self-hypnosis can help you become independent of a therapist and empower you to use it on a daily basis. Daily use and self-care can help you lead a more productive and fulfilling life.

Hypnotherapy when used in combination with counselling or other evidence based interventions can be very helpful for managing your clinical pain symptoms. If you are interested in learning more about the process please reach out and I’d be happy to further discuss this with you.

Written by: Sebastian Di Cesare PhD, RCC - a Registered Clinical Counsellor & Hypnotherapist based in Vancouver, Canada.


Felson, S. (2018, October 18). Pain Management: Treatment Overview. WebMD.

Milling, L. S., Valentine, K. E., LoStimolo, L. M., Nett, A. M., & McCarley, H. S. (2021). Hypnosis and the Alleviation of Clinical Pain: A Comprehensive Meta-Analysis. The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 69(3), 297–322.

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