From the Arizona Living online edition, October 11, 2005
Power of suggestion
Hypnosis gains support as medical tool for dealing with pain, recovery, stress
HypnoBirthing doesn't promise everyone a pain-free delivery.But it happened for Heather Houser, 30, of Scottsdale. "I have to honestly say there was discomfort, but not any actual pain," said the mother of an 8-month-old girl.
"Everyone wants to know about that part," Houser said. "But I went into it because I wanted the baby to come into the world in a gentle, calm, natural way. And that's what happened."Her 4.5-hour, drug-free labor was far shorter than the average 15 hours reported in baby books. Houser, a surgical nurse at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea, credits her hypnosis relaxation and visualization techniques.
Long regarded as fringe therapy, hypnosis is gaining attention from prestigious institutions. Teaching hospitals such as Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and Harvard Medical School are studying and using hypnosis to speed surgical recoveries and manage pain. Stanford University School of Medicine and the Mayo Clinic are studying its effectiveness for treating anxiety, stress and overeating."Medical or clinical hypnosis is not bogus," said Dr. John Sutherland of the Arizona Heart Institute. "The evidence of hypnosis for things like pain relief is quite convincing, and there's a good amount of data to support it."Sutherland, a cardiologist and medical director of cardiac rehabilitation at the institute, has even referred some patients for hypnotherapy to treat stress and for smoking cessation.