Could hypnosis ease your chest pains?Hypnosis is being tested as a way to tackle ‘phantom’ chest pain. In a new clinical trial, researchers at the Royal Brompton Hospital, London, will assess its benefits for people with cardiac syndrome X.
This causes pain similar to angina, although the patient’s heart is, in fact, perfectly healthy.
Cardiac syndrome X is more common in women, especially those who have gone through the menopause. Three per cent of adults may be affected at some stage in their life. Results from an earlier study show that 80 per cent of patients given hypnotherapy experienced a reduction in pain, compared to 23 per cent of a comparison group.
Just how it works is not clear, but doctors say one theory is that it may reduce ‘catastrophising’. This is a tendency to exaggerate the threat from pain, worry about it, and feel unable to do anything about it.
In the trial, 40 patients will undergo ten one-hour sessions of hypnotherapy.